The Telegraph
Friday , May 6 , 2016

Slow probe angers HC

Cuttack, May 5: Orissa High Court has expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of the CBI's probe into the funds raised by the Seashore Group of Companies, one of the alleged major players in the multi-crore deposit collection scam across the state.

Managing director of the group Prasanta Kumar Dash has been in jail since his arrest by the state CID-crime branch from Mumbai on June 20, 2013. The investigation had since been handed over to the CBI following a Supreme Court order.

The apex court had directed the CBI to investigate the aspect of "money trail" and "larger conspiracy" so far the funds raised by group were concerned.

The CBI had filed a preliminary charge sheet at the special CBI court on March 8, 2015, accusing Dash of swindling public deposit money, while keeping the case open for further investigation.

Taking note of it, the single-judge bench of Justice C.R. Dash said: "I am constrained to say that the investigation cannot go on for an indefinite period and the petitioner (Prasanta Kumar Dash) cannot be put behind bars beyond the period of detention exceeding the sentence to be imposed under the charge."

Justice Dash made the observation while considering the bail application of the group president and directing the CBI to complete the investigation at the earliest.

Justice Dash, however, endorsed the CBI's contention that the "money trail" aspect was to be investigated now and further the "larger conspiracy" involving co-accused Suvankar Nayak in bribing the state machinery for illegal gain of the Seashore Group of Companies was also being investigated. A diary has been seized from the possession of Nayak, in which it has been reflected that on many occasions, hefty amounts of money had been given to many government officials of various districts of the state. It may so happen that the present petitioner may disown his relationship with the co-accused and Nayak may disown the seized diary. In that event, custodial interrogation of both face to face may be a necessity.

"For the aspect of money trail also, the investigation process is not so easy and obviously cumbersome. Release of the petitioner on bail at this crucial stage may hamper smooth investigation of the case and affect the larger interest of the society," Justice Dash ruled in his April 27 order, a copy of the text of which is in possession of The Telegraph.

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