Chess star in Ponzi probe
Bhubaneswar: The Enforcement Directorate (ED), probing into the money laundering scam by sham deposit collection company Star Consultancy, has summoned Woman Grandmaster Padmini Rout.
While the ED had asked the 24-year-old chess player to appear before it on Wednesday, Rout could not appear as she is currently in Abu Dhabi for a tournament.
Star Consultancy managing director Triveni Mohanty, who is absconding, had allegedly sponsored Rout after she won the World Youth Chess Championship is in the girls' under-14 category in 2008. The company allegedly signed a three-year contract with Rout, promising to bear the cost of her coaching and participation in open international tournaments.
The company allegedly swindled more than Rs 100 crore from investors on the pretext of quick returns. In April, the ED attached the company's assets, including immovable property worth Rs 50 lakh and Rs 33 lakh bank balance.
Rout's father, Ashok, who was one of the directors of the company, denied that his daughter had received any summons from the ED and said he and his family members were in Bengal for the past 10 days to consult doctors for his kidney ailment.
"The company had signed an MoU to sponsor her in 2008, but did not spend any money. I had invested around Rs 20 lakh in the company and did not get any returns either. I am a victim of the scam myself," he said.
In June 2013, parents of several budding chess players had lodged a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing against Ashok, accusing him of luring them to invest in Star Consultancy.
The police arrested Triveni twice in December 2010 and April 2011 following complaints by investors who had allegedly been cheated by the company.
Triveni had also invested in the Odia film Tu Tha Mu Jauchi Rusi. In July, the ED had quizzed actor Sritam Das, the film's director, for nearly six hours to probe into his alleged links with the company.