CBI interrogates BJD MLA, newspaper owner in ponzi scheme scam

CBI grilled Pranab Balabantray, BJD lawmaker from Dharmasala Assembly segment, newspaper owner and builder Madhu Mohanty for their alleged link with ponzi scheme company Artha Tatwa group.

PTI| Updated: Sep 11, 2014, 16:13 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: CBI grilled Pranab Balabantray, BJD lawmaker from Dharmasala Assembly segment, newspaper owner and builder Madhu Mohanty for their alleged link with ponzi scheme company Artha Tatwa group.

CBI sources today said Balabantray was grilled for about 60 minutes till 12.15 am last night at the investigating agency's office here for his alleged link with ponzi scheme company Artha Tatwa group.

Balabantray is the son of BJD vice-president and sitting Rajya Sabha MP Kalpataru Das. An accused in the alleged land scam, he had earlier surrendered two houses to the government availed under discretionary quota.

When asked, he told newsmen "They (CBI) had sought clarification on a piece of land in my name. I gave details of the land to the investigating agency."

Mohanty, owner of Odia daily 'Odisha Bhaskar' was grilled today for about two hours at the CBI office, the sources said.

"I have given my clarification to the investigating agency. They had summoned me to be present before the CBI team," Mohanty told reporters later.

AT Group chief Pradip Sethi, who is lodged in jail, had reportedly named some BJD leaders during his interrogation by CBI last week. He had also reportedly told CBI that Mohanty had taken a large amount of money as loan from the company but did not return it.

CBI also interrogated Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) secretary Asirbad Behera's son Sanjay, a builder, yesterday.

Last month, CBI had raided houses of Banki legislator and former BJD chief whip Pravat Tripathy and Mayurbhanj MP Ramchandra Hansda for their alleged complicity in the scam.

The central investigating agency had also taken Odia daily Surya Prabha owner Bikash Swain, to its remand for the former's link with the Artha Tatwa Group. Swain is presently in CBI custody.

On Wednesday it had grilled Manoj Dash, who runs a news channel for over three hours.

Sethi had alleged that Dash too had taken Rs 90 lakh loan from him in the past but did not return it.

Dash had rubbished the charges saying the money was part of a business deal as Sethi had wanted to hire his studio infrastructure to start his own news channel. Sethi had later backed out and did not hire the studio infrastructure. Since the agreement was already signed he could not rent his machines and had incurred heavy loss.