The economic offence wing (EOW) of the crime branch had earlier claimed to have detected Oscar’s land and office buildings worth nearly Rs 100 crore at different places in the three states.
BHUBANESWAR: The crime branch’s plan of attaching the properties of Oscar Group, a chit fund company, is unlikely to yield any result as the Ponzi firm has already sold bulk of its properties in Odisha, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Though the economic offence wing (EOW) of the crime branch had earlier claimed to have detected Oscar’s land and office buildings worth nearly Rs 100 crore at different places in the three states, physical verification of those assets sprung up a surprise for the probe agency.
“Most of the land and office buildings have been sold. We are trying to trace those who bought the properties. If we find that the buyers partnered with the company for financial benefit, they will come under our scanner,” said an EOW officer.
Oscar Group’s chief Prabhas Rout, who is also an Ollywood producer, was arrested on June 10 on charges of cheating investors of the three states of more than Rs 230 crore.
The group had opened 50 branches in Odisha, 45 in Gujarat and five in Maharashtra.
The EOW officials said they are verifying the details of the firm’s 25-acre land in Khurda, Puri and Ganjam districts.
“The market price of the land would be nearly Rs 20 crore. The land is still owned by Rout and Oscar Group. We have asked the revenue officials to prevent the sale and purchase of the properties,” the official said.
Though the EOW has so far frozen Oscar’s bank accounts with deposits of nearly Rs 2.5 crore, the investigating agency suspects that Rout may have stashed more money and transferred immovable assets in the names of his near and dear ones.
Two to three days after the first FIR was lodged against him on May 10, 2013 in Ganjam district, he had withdrawn rupees five crore in cash from a bank in Kodala.
The investors asked the EOW to bring some leading Ollywood actors under its purview of investigation as they allegedly availed themselves of undue benefits from Rout and worked as brand ambassadors of the Oscar Group, which has produced four movies in the past.
The names of several Ollywood actors-turned-BJD politicians have been doing the rounds since Rout’s arrest. Popular comedian Papu Pompom had confessed to have taken nearly Rs 2.5 lakh from Rout, though he insisted that he had already returned the money to him.
While cheating cases were registered against Rout in Kandhamal and Ganjam districts in the state, separate cases were also registered against him in Surat, Baroda and Valsad of Gujarat and Goregaon, Mahad, Pune and Alibag police stations in Maharashtra.