.........BHUBANESWAR: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Pravat Ranjan Biswal in connection with the chit fund scam, escalating political tension between the ruling outfit and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Central agency had detained the Cuttack-Choudwar legislator on Monday night in connection with the land transaction between his wife and Seashore Group chief Prashant Dash in 2011. He was formally arrested on Tuesday and produced before a Special CBI court which remanded the BJD legislator to five-day in the agency’s custody. Biswal’s advocate also moved the court seeking his treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack which will be taken up on September 23.
The premier probe agency said investigation revealed that Biswal allegedly got huge amount into the account of his wife from Dash “for the smooth functioning of the company in and around Cuttack area.” Biswal and his wife Laxmi Bilasini, a former Zilla Parishad president of Cuttack, had been quizzed for more than a dozen times since 2014 when the CBI began its investigation into the matter. While Biswal’s arrest a good three years later has charged up the political atmosphere with both BJD and BJP exchanging accusations over the timing and motive, Biswal termed it a political conspiracy. “It is gross injustice. You all are aware of the truth because we had provided all necessary information the investigating agency had asked,” he said after the arrest. The land transaction came to fore after the ponzi firm chief informed the CBI about it during the course of investigation three years back when the scam was at its peak. Laxmi Bilasini had struck a deal with Dash for a land at Benapur mouza in Jajpur district. While Dash had paid `25 lakh for the land in cheques in April 2012, the rest amount of `4.25 lakh was to be paid during registration.
However, with Seashore Group running into financial trouble, Dash cancelled the deal and wanted his money back which was paid, the couple claimed. The CBI had sought details of the repayment in shape of monetary instruments and agreements during investigation. CBI sources said Biswal and Laxmi Bilasini could not furnish documents to substantiate their claim. Certain documents submitted by the couple were sent for forensic examination which worked as evidence against Biswal and his wife.
In January, the CBI had conducted raid on Biswal’s Cuttack residence in this connection. Biswal is the second MLA to have been arrested by CBI in the ponzi scam. Earlier, Banki MLA Pravat Tripathy was arrested and suspended by the party. Now he is on bail.