BHUBANESWAR: For the first time since the chit fund scam surfaced in 2013, the Khurda district administration on Friday confiscated properties of four Ponzi firms in Khurda and Tangi tehsils.
Official sources said the district administration attached 40 acre belonging to Sai Pragati Group, 15 acre of Artha Tatwa (AT) Group, 5.5 acre of Shastra Group and a flour mill belonging to Seashore Group. "We have taken possession of the properties and informed court," said collector (Khurda) Niranjan Sahoo.
The Crime Branch (previous investigating agency) had seized assets worth over Rs 200 crore of the Seashore Group at different places while the commissionerate of police seized assets, involving more than Rs 150 crore of AT Group.
Investors said they are still in dark about the procedures of getting back their money. "Though the state government enacted Odisha Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Bill, 2011, to protect the interest of depositors, the government is yet to draw up the modalities of getting refunds," said Jayant Nanda, a duped AT Group investor.
The investors also flayed the state government for doing little to disburse the Rs 300-crore corpus fund, announced in July 2013. "In West Bengal, the investors have already got the money announced by their government. But the Odisha government is silent on the procedures of distributing the money," said Srikrushna Tripathy, an investor.
On June 24, a delegation of Aarthika Sanstha Manaka Dwara Khyatigrastana Milita Mancha, a forum of duped investors, met governor S C Jamir and gave him a memorandum, demanding immediate disbursement from the corpus fund among depositors.
Even as the state government claims to restitute money to duped investors of different companies by confiscating the assets of sham firms, uncertainty looms large over the resale value of the seized vehicles, which are gathering dust in police stations.
"The vehicles have been parked behind DCP and EOW offices, exposed to sun and rain. Thick coats of dust have settled on the vehicles. How will the vehicles be auctioned in good price if those are not maintained properly?," asked Sanjay Sahoo, an investor.
AT Group's CMD Pradeep Sethy and Astha's Subranshu Lenka allegedly made the most of the public deposits and rode costly vehicles like Mercedes, BMW, Land Cruiser and Suzuki Intruder power bike. At least 13 vehicles, including a bike, all worth over Rs 2 crore were seized from Sethy.