First conviction under OPID Act

First conviction under OPID Act

Bhubaneswar: A designated chit fund court in Cuttack on Tuesday awarded five year jail term to Siridi Sai Estate Private Limited managing director Prakash Chandra Panda and slapped Rs 3 lakh fine on him for cheating land buyers of almost Rs 10 crore.

The law under which Panda was convicted was introduced in December 2011 to rein in dodgy non-banking finance companies and unincorporated bodies after scores of chit funds and cooperatives swindled hundreds of crores.

The court also found the company to be also guilty under section 6 of the OPID Act and awarded a further one year RI to its MD and slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh. Official sources said it was the first such conviction under the Odisha Prevention of Interest of Depositors (OPID) Act in Cuttack. In default of the fine, the MD shall undergo RI of another one year, informed Special Prosecutor Subrat Mohanty.

As the ponzi firm neither provided land to investors nor returned their money, some investors filed a writ petition in the Orissa High Court.

Adjudicating over the case for over one year and examining as many as 17 witnesses in this connection, the designated court in its first judgement convicted Panda, who is behind the bar for the last 33 months.

Panda was arrested by Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch from his residence at Bhubaneswar on February 15, 2014, on charges of duping depositors of Rs 1.05 crore.

The designated court ordered for public auction of moveable and immoveable properties valued at about Rs 26 lakh belonging to the firm and distributes the proceeds among the duped investors.