Chit fund group Seashore, against which CBI filed its first chargesheet last month, allegedly paid nearly Rs 550 crore to several BJD leaders including school and mass education minister Debi Prasad Mishra, according to a recorded conversation between a Seashore employee and one of his associates. The conversation in an audio CD is now in possession of the CBI that has sent it to a laboratory for verification.
The CD, containing a 39-minute-long conversation between Seashore employee Pradeep Samantaray and his associate Pinak Mohanty, has been sent to a forensic laboratory in Hyderabad for examination, said CBI sources. Incidentally, CBI had raided Samantaray’s residence in Cuttack district on Wednesday from where they got the CD last month. Samantray was interrogated by CBI again on Thursday.
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In the CD, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, Samantaray spoke about Seashore giving Rs 550 crore to politicians, including some ruling party MLAs and ministers, between 2008 and 2012. He claimed to have personally distributed Seashore money to 17 or 18 MLAs including BJD MLA Prabhat Biswal.
“Saroj Sahoo (Naveen Patnaik’s former aide) took the money. He knows all the transactions,” claimed Samantray in the CD. Sahoo has already been interrogated by CBI.
BJD MLA Prabhat Biswal rubbished the allegations saying that all the transactions that he has made with Seashore is legal. “They had bought my land as per existing legal procedures. Later when their acounts were frozen by CBI, I returned the money. In my whole life I have never done any illegal thing,” he said.
Mishra also denied the allegations calling Samantray a “madcap”. “ I have never seen that person,” he said.