BJD MLA held in Odisha scam, sent in 5-day CBI custody

The MLA was under the scanner over a piece of land in Benapur area of Jajpur.

Bhubaneswar, Sep 19 : Ruling Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) MLA Prabhat Biswal was on Tuesday arrested by the CBI in the Seashore chit fund scam in Odisha.

Biswal was picked up late Monday night from his Cuttack residence though his arrest was announced on Tuesday morning.

A CBI Special Court here later in the day sent Biswal in five-day custody of the central agency to facilitate a further probe.

The MLA said his arrest was politically motivated. “It’s injustice, politically motivated,” Biswal said while being taken to the court.

“I have fully cooperated with the CBI for the last four years. Everyone knows what kind of a person I am. Truth will definitely prevail,” he said.

The ruling BJD also dubbed the arrest “politically motivated”.

“The Centre is using the CBI for political gains. This is vindictive politics. The Centre used the CBI against (Trinamool chief) Mamata Banerjee, (Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo) Lalu Prasad and even media promoter Pranoy Roy. Now, it is targeting the BJD,” party leader Subash Singh said.

“For how long will the chit fund scam investigation go on? It’s over five years now. The Union government’s ulterior motives have been exposed. People will give them a befitting reply,” he added.

Biswal, an MLA from Cuttack-Chowdwar, was quizzed four times earlier in connection with a land deal with Seashore Group chief Prasant Das, informed sources said.

His wife Laxmibilasini Biswal was also quizzed by the CBI regarding her involvement in the Jajpur Benapur land scam.

The MLA was under the scanner over a piece of land in Benapur area of Jajpur.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sources said they had sold land to the Seashore Group for a hefty amount but could not explain the details of the illegal transactions.

The couple failed to produce the documents and sale deeds about the land deal, they said.

Seashore CMD Prashant Dash had paid Rs 25 lakh for the land through cheques in April 2011, whereas the remaining amount was to be paid after registration.

However, Dash cancelled the deal later and wanted his money back, the sources said.

Biswal is the second BJD MLA to be arrested after Prabhat Tripathy, who is on bail. BJD MP Ramchandra Hansdah is languishing in jail for his alleged involvement in the chit fund scam.

Seashore Group is one of the 44 ponzi companies in Odisha which came under the CBI scanner following a Supreme Court order to probe their finances and transactions.

The CBI has already filed a chargesheet in the Rs 500-crore Seashore chit fund scam.

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