Bhubaneswar: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today attached properties of chit fund scam-tainted Seashore Group worth about Rs 84 crore, including a private engineering college and Rs 3.25 crore cash deposited in bank accounts.
Land belonging to Seashore in places such as Angul, Sambalpur and Bolangir accounted for Rs 73 crore of the attached property. Besides, the agency attached land and building of Bhubaneswar Institute of Technology (BIT) in which Seashore had invested about Rs 9 crores and a roller mill in Cuttack.
These properties were earlier seized by the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Odisha police during its probe into chit fund scam. Last September, the state police had handed over all official documents and files of Seashore Group to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The documents included bank accounts, cheque books, land documents, bank drafts and receipts of gold biscuits purchased from the banks and jewellery shops.
On December 3, 2014, the ED had attached properties of Seashore worth about Rs 157 crore, which included 100 acre land spread in Angul, Bhadrak and Puri districts, 10 flats and a plush office space near Chandka, a rice mill in Sundergarh and an oil mill in Mayurbhanj district, 200 kg silver coins and 1.4 kg gold.
With the latest seizure, the total properties of Seashore attached by ED so far has reached Rs 242 crore.
Seashore is one of the 44 companies currently under the scanner of CBI, which is investigating money trail of the chit fund firms as they are alleged to have raised several thousand crore rupees from investors by promising unrealistic returns.
The firm was already under probe by EOW of state police, which had seized the properties of the firm in 2013 and was awaiting government approval to confiscate and auction the same to raise funds to pay back the duped investors, as per the Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishment) Act, 2011. However, ED took over the investigation after taking cognisance of complaints filed by Odisha police and the vigilance department and has now attached the seized properties.
According to FIR filed by the agency, Seashore is accused of running several ponzi schemes and perpetrating an estimated Rs 800 crore fraud duping numerous investors belonging to the state and from West Bengal and Assam.
The firm's managing director Prashant Dash is already under arrest since last year and has been questioned by the CBI and ED. Established in 2005-06, the group entered into money deposit collection, real estate, media and gold trading within a short span. It had signed several agreements with state government for developing tourism spots, setting up solar power plant, maintaining hospitals and establishing a corn processing unit.