BHUBANESWAR: Former secretary of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA), Ashirbad Behera, was arrested by CBI on Thursday for his alleged links with ponzi firm Artha Tatwa Group of Companies.
Behera was arrested from his house in Cuttack after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him by Special CJM, CBI Court, on Tuesday. The Central agency’s sleuths also arrested owner of Solan Inn hotel, Kamalakanta Das, here in connection with the case.
“A supplementary chargesheet was filed against Behera, Das, OCA and one of the directors of AT Group, Sambit Kumar Khuntia, on August 27,” a CBI official said. Behera and Das were produced before Special CJM, CBI Court which rejected their bail pleas and remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days. “I will apply for my client’s bail plea in district court on Friday or Saturday,” Das’ lawyer Gyana Ranjan Mohanty said.
“You all know what is the motive behind my arrest,” Behera told the mediapersons after his arrest. His family alleged that it was politically motivated.
“The arrest is politically motivated as it comes ahead of OCA elections. The opponents have realised that they are going to lose for which they have played the dirty trick,” the former secretary’s son Sanjay Behera said.
The Central agency had registered the case against AT Group of Companies and others in compliance with the order of Supreme Court on May 9, 2014. The case was registered under relevant sections of IPC and Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.
During investigation, it was revealed that OCA through its secretary promoted AT Group in a criminal conspiracy to win confidence of the people and attract investment for different schemes of the firm.
Behera had allegedly received ` one crore from AT Group in the garb of sponsoring Odisha Ranji team and title sponsorship of Odisha Premier League, 2011.
It was also found that Das in association with other co-accused was involved in misappropriation of the immovable property of the AT Group in Balasore and Bhubaneswar.
Earlier, six chargesheets including four supplementary chargesheets were filed by the agency against 33 persons including eight companies of AT Group. The Group had allegedly duped thousands of depositors by fraudulently collecting over `1,000 crore from them in three years between 2010 and 2012.
Behera had to leave the post of secretary of OCA in 2017 after heading it for 16 years following Justice Lodha Committee’s recommendation of limiting the age of cricket association office-bearers to 70 years.w
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