Bhubaneswar: In a major embarrassment for the ruling BJD in Odisha, the CBI today arrested senior MLA and former government chief whip Pravat Tripathy for alleged link with the Artha Tatwa Group, a ponzi company involved in the multi-crore chit fund scam.
“Tripathy, an MLA from Banki in Cuttack district, has been arrested in Artha Tatwa scam case on the charge of criminal conspiracy,” sources in the CBI said adding the BJD MLA had allegedly received a huge sum from the AT Group.
Minutes after being arrested by the CBI, Tripathy was suspended from the BJD, party sources said.
Earlier, Tripathy was summoned to the CBI state headquarters here this afternoon and taken in custody after a brief interrogation by the investigating officer.
Tripathy was asked questions on how AT group chief Pradeep Sethy could get the best cooperator award in 2011 when he (Tripathy) was the president of the State Cooperative Society, sources said.
This apart, the CBI had also laid its hand on an audio CD containing certain conversation between Tripathy and Sethy, sources said.
This was the fourth time Tripathy was asked to appear before the CBI. On October 25, the last time he was at the CBI office, Tripathy was grilled for two and a half hours by the Central investigating agency.
This is Tripathy's second appearance before the Central investigating agency after the Odisha High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea on October 20.
The court had earlier given him interim relief on September 30 for about 20 days preventing his arrest by the CBI.
Tripathy's house was also raided in August by the CBI in connection with its probe into the chit fund scam. The BJD MLA had moved the Orissa High Court seeking interim bail which was also rejected.
Tripathy is the first politician and sitting MLA in Odisha to have been arrested by the CBI in the chit fund scam.