Actor quizzed over sham company links

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday quizzed popular Odia film actor and director Sritam Das for nearly six hours to probe his alleged links with a fraud firm that had invested money in the film Tu Tha Mu Jauchi Rusi directed by him. Sritam is a member of the BJP.

By Subhashish Mohanty
  • Published 4.07.18
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Sritam Das. (Ashwinee Pati)

Bhubaneswar: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday quizzed popular Odia film actor and director Sritam Das for nearly six hours to probe his alleged links with a fraud firm that had invested money in the film Tu Tha Mu Jauchi Rusi directed by him. Sritam is a member of the BJP.

Coming out of the ED office, Das claimed: "I didn't have any idea that the money used in the production of the film had come from chit fund sources. If any money had come to me from such sources, I am ready to return it. I am ready to return even my remuneration."

The film was financed by the Star Consultancy Services Private Limited, a real estate firm currently under the CBI scanner, for duping people by making alluring offers. The movie's producer Triveni Mohanty, who also happens to be the managing director of the Star Consultancy Services Private Limited, is absconding.

In April this year, the ED had attached the company's assets worth Rs 83 lakh of which immoveable property amounted to Rs 50 lakh. Rest of it was in the form of bank deposits.

Mohanty had allegedly lured people by offering land and houses under the banner of Star Consultancy Services Private Limited. He absconded after collecting around Rs 100 crore from customers.

It is alleged that not only Das, but many other film stars have benefited from fraud deposit collectioncompanies directly and indirectly. One of these, the Oscar group, had used film stars in its road shows to promote its activities.

In a related development, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to Mayurbhanj BJD MP Ramchandra Hansda, who is in the jail in connection with his alleged links with Naba Diganta Capital Services, a fraud deposit collectionfirm. Hansda was one of the directors of the company. He was arrested in November 2014 and was subsequently suspended from the BJD.

In another development, 1988-batch IAS officer Parag Gupta, who is working as a joint secretary in the Union ministry of food processing in Delhi, has sought 15 days' time to appear before the CBI in connection with his alleged links with another sham firm, Seashore group.

Sources said when Gupta was the secretary tourism, Seashore group had signed a number of understandings with the department to promote tourism. On Monday, a CBI team had quizzed Sangram Keshari Ray, a retired IAS officer, who had also worked in the tourism department.