CBI on Saturday arrested a senior functionary of an Odisha-based chit fund company in connection with a multi-crore Ponzi scam after finding him holed up inside a well at his residence in Bhubaneswar. After carrying out searches at 60 locations in Mumbai and Odisha, the CBI zeroed in on Sambit Khuntia, director of Artha Tatwa group and a local Congress leader, who has been evading arrest for nearly a month.
Searches were also carried out at the residence of TV serial producer Priti Bhatia and stock broker Deepak Parekh in Mumbai, besides Behrampur, Balasor, and 54 places around Bhubaneshwar. Parekh has allegedly obtained a licence from Sebi and MCX for Artha Tatwa group, while Bhatia had started a media company along with Pradeep Sethi, CMD of the group, who has been arrested by CBI.
CBI sources said premises of Pravata Tripathy, BJD MLA; Ashirbad Behera, Orissa cricket association secretary; Bikash Swain, owner of Surya Prabha newspaper; Manoj Dash, owner of Kamyab TV; Satyabrata Lenka and Sethi were searched.
Tripathy confirmed the CBI searches at his premises, but denied any involvement in the scam. CBI has alleged that the MLA “was taking protection money from some of the accused”, a charge denied by Tripathy.