State

Chit Fund Scam: Former Odisha CB DSP Pramod Panda Suspended

Bhubaneswar, Jan 01: In a huge jolt to former Crime Branch (CB) DSP Pramod Panda, who was arrested by the CBI for his alleged links with chit fund firm AT Group CMD Pradeep Sethy, Odisha government on Thursday suspended him with effect from the day of his arrest.

Panda was arrested on Dec 19 last year on charges of larger conspiracy and deriving finance from AT Group.

The suspension of the IPS officer comes 13 days after his arrest, which raised several questions. As per rules, a government employee is supposed to be suspended within 48 hours of the arrest in a criminal case, stated Alok Jena, who had filed the PILs that led to the Supreme Court ordering a CBI probe into the chit fund scam.

Panda, who had earlier investigated the chit fund cases, is allegedly getting protection from the state police. He is the first Odisha police officer to be arrested in the case.

Panda had close links with AT Group chief Pradeep Sethy. During the raid at his residence in Bhadrak on Nov 18, the CBI had seized some documents that showed the financial transactions between him and AT Group.

He was the DSP, district intelligence bureau (DIB), in Nayagarh when he was arrested.

His bail was rejected by the special CBI court on Dec 24. He is currently lodged in Jharapada jail here.

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