Odisha announces Rs.300 crore corpus for chit fund victims

Bhubaneswar, July 9 (IANS) The Odisha government announced Tuesday that it would create a corpus fund of Rs.300 crore to help chit fund victims in the state.

The government also said it has appointed former chief justice of Sikkim High Court and former chairman Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) Justice R.K. Patra to head the panel that will probe the chit fund scam.

"We will ensure free and fare investigation into all chit fund cases," said a statement issued by the office of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

"We are putting in place a strong legal and financial arrangement so that people do not suffer undue losses. This will also include creation of a corpus fund up to Rs.300 crore to protect the interest of genuine small investors", the statement said.

It also said the government is moving the Odisha High Court for constitution of some special courts for speedy trail of all the cases. Special prosecutors would be engaged for effective handling of such cases, it said.

"Cells will function in every district in the office of the superintendent of police and all the district police chiefs have been directed to meet complaints on a regular basis," it said.

Earlier last year, a probe was started into the alleged chit fund scam after several small investors complained that firms engaged in ponzi schemes collected huge amounts of money from them but later refused to pay back as promised.

The economic offence wing of the crime branch of Odisha Police was investigating the allegations.

Although police raided offices of several such companies and arrested a score of people for irregularities, the government had came under heavy attack from opposition.

It had ordered a judicial probe and requested the Odisha High Court to spare a sitting judge. The latest appointment came after the High Court turned down the state government's request.

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