CBI arrests Biju Janata Dal Lawmaker in Odisha Chit Fund Scam

BHUBANESWAR: In a major embarrassment for Naveen Patnaik-led BJD, party MLA Prabhat Biswal from Cuttack-Choudwar was arrested by CBI on Monday night in connection with a fraudulent land deal with Seashore Group, official sources said.

He was nabbed after a brief interrogation at CBI regional office here last night. “He went to the CBI office, Bhubaneswar on Monday evening after receiving a call. The officials questioned him there and arrested him,” his brother Arta Ranjan Biswal said.

“In 2014, CBI had called him for interrogation. Since then he had not been summoned because he is not involved in any controversial matter as he is always busy in public service. I wonder how things changed overnight and he has been implicated falsely,” he added.

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

CBI sources said they had sold a piece of land to the Seashore Group for a hefty amount and 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 in cheques in April 2011, the remaining amount was to be paid after registration.

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

Mr Biswal was the second BJD lawmaker to be arrested after Prabhat Tripathy, who is on bail. BJD MP Ramchandra Hansdah was 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 scanner of the CBI following an order of the Supreme Court to probe their finances and transactions.

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

Meanwhile, a team of doctors from Capital Hospital examined his health at the CBI office. “His health condition is not well now as his blood pressure level has gone up. A medicine specialist will be sent to the CBI office for his treatment. More examinations will also be conducted,” Capital Hospital Director Chittaranjan Das said.

His lawyer Anup Senapati said he will soon file a bail petition in court on health grounds. “Prabhat Biswal is not well as he underwent a surgery recently. We will move court soon seeking bail,” Senapati said.

The legislator was earlier quizzed by the Central probe agency in 2014 over the land deal with Seashore Group chief Prashant Dash. His wife Laxmi Bilasini Biswal, also a BJD leader and former zilla parishad president was also grilled on same charges last year.

The CBI sources had earlier revealed that Biswal and his wife embezzled lakhs of rupees from the company by promising to sell their land in Jajpur district. The MLA was also suspected to have availed huge financial benefits from Seashore Group, apparently to allow the company to operate its businesses in Choudwar and Jagatpur industrial area in Cuttack.

Biswal however had denied all the charges

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