Artha Tatwa chit fund scam: Former OCA Secretary Ashirbad Behera arrested by CBI

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Cuttack: The CBI has arrested Odisha Cricket Association’s former honorary secretary Asirbad Behera in connection with a probe into ponzi scam in Artha Tatwa group.

Reportedly, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) squad conducted a surprise raid at Behera’s residence in Cuttack early on Thursday morning and apprehended the former OCA Secretary.

Prior to the arrest, the officials briefly questioned Behera and his family members regarding the case.

However, refuting the charges, Behera’s son has alleged that the arrest was conducted over a plan to spoil their chances of success in the upcoming OCA elections. While the reign of Ashirbad Behera as secretary of the association had come to an end in early 2017, Behera was backing his elder son Sanjay Behera for the secretary position.

Reports of Kamalakanta Das, owner of Hotel Solan Inn, being arrested by the agency has also surfaced.

The agency has earlier filed a charge sheet before a special CBI court against three private persons including Behera, Kamalakanta Das of Hotel Solan Inn, and Sambit Kumar Khuntia, a private individual.

Notably, the CBI alleged that the Association, through Behera, the then honorary secretary, acted in a criminal conspiracy with the Artha Tatwa group and promoted it to boost its credibility in the eyes of the public.

It helped in attracting more investment in the different Ponzi schemes floated by the Artha Tatwa group. Behera allegedly received around Rs 1 crore as part of the deal to promote the Ponzi firm.

Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 2017 registered a case against Behera in connection with the row over Barabati Palace. The case against Behera, former secretary of the Odisha Cricket Association, was registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The ED in February 2016 grilled Behera and four other office bearers of the cricket association in connection with the group’s Rs 1 crore investment in the cricket body.

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