Cuttack/Bhubaneswar: CBI arrested the former secretary of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA), Asirbad Behera, from his Cuttack residence on Thursday for his alleged involvement in the Artha Tatwa (AT) chit fund scam.
A team of 15-20 members of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the central agency arrested Behera early in the morning and brought him to the CBI office in Bhubaneswar for interrogation.
Incidentally, the arrest came just days ahead of the OCA elections scheduled on September 27.
SP (CBI) JN Rana told the media that during its investigation into the scam, CBI had submitted a preliminary charge-sheet against Behera, representative of Hotel Sonal Inn at Kharavela Nagar in Bhubaneswar, Kamalakanta Das, and the director of AT Group of Companies, Sambit Khuntia, in a special court.
While CBI had arrested Khuntia from his Housing Board residence at Batamangala in Khurda on August 16, 2014, it had summoned Behera and Das for a series of interrogations.
Asked why CBI had arrested Behera after five years, the SP said the arrest came after the special court issued a non-bailable warrant against him. He, however, clarified that CBI will not take him on remand.
He further said that apart from Behera, the representative of the Hotel Solan Inn has also been arrested.
On his part, Behera said his arrest was a well-orchestrated conspiracy by some persons.
Behera’s son, Sanjay also condemned the CBI action. “They should have issued a summon to my father before his arrest. Instead, they arrested him after showing him the court order,” Sanjay told the media.
Asked about the association of Behera and OCA in promoting the AT Group by roping it as the sponsor for Ranji Trophy and Odisha Premier League (OPL) in 2011 and 2012, Sanjay denied that his father knew the AT promoters. “Moreover, the decision to launch the OPL with the AT group as its sponsor was a unanimous decision of all the OCA office bearers,” he pointed out.
“There is no doubt that my father is framed by some opponents who are contesting the OCA elections. The manner in which he has been arrested, I assure you that we will win the election with a thumping majority,” he added.
According to the schedule, the last date for filing of nomination papers for the OCA polls is September 20. While verification of the nomination papers will be done on September 21, the last date for withdrawal of nominations is September 22.
As per the directive of the CEO of the BCCI Executive Committee appointed by the Supreme Court, the election will be held for the posts of president, vice-president, secretary, joint secretary, treasurer and a member of the OCA council.