BHUBANESWAR: The Crime Branch of Odisha police on Tuesday arrested noted businessman and vice-president of Odisha Cricket Association Tirupati Panigrahi and two of his relatives here for allegedly reneging on the promise of providing residential plots to two men after taking money from them in 2009.
Panigrahi owns real estate firms, two private medical colleges and several professional educational institutes, under the business conglomerate Hi-Tech Group, in different places of Odisha. The police action followed a complaint lodged by a man, who alleged that Rajdhani Estates and Promoters Private Limited, a sister concern of Hi-Tech Group, cheated him and his brother with false promise of giving them land at Sundarpada on the outskirts of city. The complaint was lodged at economic offence wing (EOW) of Crime Branch here on December 23. Police refused to divulge details about the complainant.
An EOW team, led by DIG Rajesh Kumar, swooped on Panigrahi's house here early in the morning and arrested him. His relatives Tirupati Choudhury and Madhusudan Panigrahi, who were posted as directors at Rajdhani Estates and Promoters Pvt Ltd, were also taken into custody for their alleged complicity in the fraud. Tirupati Panigrahi is the managing director of the real estate firm.
"The FIR contained names of the MD and two directors. We arrested them after gathering evidence against them," ADG (Crime Branch) B K Sharma said. "Tirupati Panigrahi's real estate company had taken a total of Rs 1.80 lakh from the complainant and his brother in several instalments between 2003 and 2009 to provide him four plots (1,200 square feet each) in Sundarpada. But the two brothers have not yet got possession over the lands," Sharma said. The complainant was paying Rs 4,400 instalment per month under the land scheme. "We have collected oral evidence of victims, documents and sale deed agreements of the land," Sharma said.
The EOW sleuths raided Tirupati Panigrahi's office at Saheed Nagar and seized incriminating documents. "We will also freeze the accounts of the company," Sharma said. The company's other activities would come under the purview of investigation, if required, he informed.
The company functionaries rubbished the charges. "The allegation of cheating against the company is baseless. It usually takes time to give possession over plots in real estate business," said Santosh Panchuati, a senior employee of the company.
The capital city has witnessed a spurt in crime, relating to land fraud, due to abnormal rise of land prices over the years. Several real estate companies had earlier hogged headlines for duping land buyers of crores of rupees. The EOW has registered as many as 10 land fraud cases in the past four months, sources said.