| Fraud victims protest at Lower PMG in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, Nov. 23: At least 160 individual and 120 NGO franchise holders from across the state have allegedly been duped of several crores of rupees by the Bapuji and Biju Pattnaik Educational and Charitable Trust.
Victims who have been cheated of their money today submitted a memorandum to governor M.C. Bhandare demanding quick action against the trust.
The complainants alleged the trust, which had operated in the state for a brief period in 2006, had sought applications from NGOs and individuals interested in running educational projects on behalf of the trust in different parts of the state. The applicants were required to deposit amounts ranging between Rs 55,000 and Rs 75,000. Nearly 160 individuals and 120 NGOs had submitted their proposals to the Delhi-based trust.
It is alleged that the trust, during its operation in Orissa, had gained confidence of people through its “bogus projects,” alleged the complainants. The trust had later shifted its office to Lajpat Nagar in Delhi.
During its stay in Orissa, it had opened its state office at Patrapada in Bhubaneswar. The trust then brought out an advertisement inviting applications from NGOs and individuals to implement, manage and execute certain educational projects in different parts of the state, for which they will have to open school-cum-offices in their individual areas.
It was only during March 2010 that the owners of the trust began playing hide and seek.
“The officers have now absconded after locking the state project office. We are not being able to pay salaries to the staff or run the projects,” said Prashant Kumar Pattnaik, a franchisee.
“We tried lodging FIR at the Khandagiri police station but they refused,” he alleged. Khandagiri police said that the case came under the New Delhi jurisdiction and they could not help in probing into the issue in anyway.