Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Do you need heavy cash to invest in business? Do you want that there should be no interest charged for the large amount you would take? Do you find it impossible to obtain such interest-free finance from any nationalized /commercial Bank?
Do not worry. Satisfy a minister of Orissa specifically if he or she belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a way would surely be devised to help you loot an official institute.
Look at how a team of land dealers styled as Konark Hovel (P) Ltd (herein after called Hovel) has looted the premier cooperative housing society of Bhubaneswar, the Capital Cooperative Housing Limited (hereinafter called the Society). You may get the clue.
Look at what has happened.
In 2004, operators of Hovel were in need of funds worth about Rs.50 lakhs to invest in real estate trade. No Bank was ready to grant it a loan of such heavy amount.
Had they taken a loan they would have paid heavy interest; the trade being speculative and the time to earn ability on their part to repay the loan being uncertain and inestimable.
So, looting cash of an official institute seemed more lucrative. Aravind Dhali, then of BJP, was minister in charge of the department of cooperation. This department runs and controls banking networks. He agreed to collaborate and organized the necessary umbrage for the looting.
The Society at that time was running perfectly under an elected Board of Directors. The Government in the department of Cooperation under Dhali superseded the elected Board and appointed a man called T. Prasad Rao Dora as President and a pack of sycophants of Dhali as Directors of the Society.
Rao and his team provided Hovel with the funds it needed from the funds of the Society.
To this effect a scheme was cooked up.
Accordingly the Society would search for land to develop a housing project and Hovel would come forward with an offer and money was to be paid to it against procurement of ghost lands.
Even as the Society would not get the land registered, Hovel would be free to use the money received against the offered land in its own business and return the amount sans any interest at any unspecific time to its own advantage. And, the amount so refunded would be accepted by the Society as to its prudence it would then be fed that an unregistered agreement for transfer of any property having no legal binding under The Transfer of Property Act, 1882, it would be better to get back the money, at least in principal.
But this transaction being entirely illegal, it was planned to purchase cooperation of the Chief Executive (an officer of the cooperation department) and the officer, according to a source, agreed to agree to the proposal at a price of Rs.10 lakhs.
The source says, Rs.0.10 lakh was paid to him immediately on 6 March 2004 and it was decided to pay him Rs.10 lakhs in two installments. Firstly a token amount of Rs.2 lakhs would be sanctioned as advance against cost of land so that Hovel would be sure of the flow of money. On receipt of the first installment of Rs.2 lakhs towards advance, Hovel should pay that entire amount to the Chief Executive. After receipt of the final dose, Hovel would pay him the rest amount of Rs.8 lakhs, it was decided.
Then came the question of agreement.
A Notary was taken to confidence. But sensing the rat, the Notary demanded half a lakh of Rupees to Notarize the agreement. The deal was finalized at a sum of Rs.0.40 lakhs on 8 March 2004.
A ghost agreement was notarized in the same night.
And, it was decided to pay Hovel Rs.2.40 lakhs instead of Rs.2 lakhs so that the payment of Rs.0.40 lakhs to the Notary would be covered therein. Signatures of the parties and witnesses were to be collected on the body of the ghost agreement later in order to give it a genuine color.
The signatures of the parties and witnesses were collected on 10 March 2004 and then, as conspired, on 12 March 2004, a sum of Rs.2.40 was paid to the Chief Executive of the Society by Hovel in cash against receipt of the same amount from the Society as a token of advance payment against the proposed land deal.
After cooperation of the departmental officer thus purchased, a sum of Rs.40 lakhs was paid to Hovel only the next day, i.e. on 13 March 2004.
Hovel was in dire need of this money. But Rao and his team of Directors wanted their mutually decided amount of payola out of this payment lest it escapes with the money, as they knew that the so-called agreement would have no legal enforceability.
At this stage Dhali came to the rescue of Hovel.
Under his advice off the record, the Chief Executive devised a new trick of cheating.
Accordingly an “Irrevocable General Power of Attorney”(IGPA) was formulated and a further sum of Rs.15 lakhs was paid to Hovel on 29 April 2004. Rao and his team of Directors shared their share of payola with Dhali out of this payment.
The IGPA was later registered authorizing the Chief Executive, Dr. Prasant Kumar Pradhan, s/o Anant Charan Pradhan of village Nuapada under P.S. Kundeigola of Deogarh district to dispose off any portion or entire of the land mentioned in the agreement to any party or parties as he would prefer at any time on behalf of the Society.
Even as this document was used to hoodwink the general members of the Society in case any of them gets suspicious about the transaction, it was mutually decided that the Attorney holder would never use this IGPA and to ensure that Dr. Pradhan remains loyal to this decision, he was paid the rest of the promised amount i.e. Rs.8 lakhs on 13 May 2004 by Hovel after receiving the amount in shape of advance on that day.
With the loot thus complete, Rao and his co-Directors gave way for election of a new Board. The CE being involved with the loot, the matter could not come to the notice of the general members.
It needs be marked that Dr. Pradhan is continuing as the CE, but has neither got the land registered in the Society’s name nor has ever used the IGPA to its advantage.
Had he wanted, he could never have succeeded; because, he knew the so-called documentation had no practical enforceability. He was only organizing time so that Hovel could organize a repayment without interest.
But with an elected Board in power, it could not have been possible to keep the issue dormant always. So a nominated body was needed.
It was not a problem with the saffron lady Surama Padhi as the Minister of Cooperation.
She took such steps that election was not carried out in respect of the Society. The department nominated a saffronist Govind Chandra Panda as the President –cum-single member Board of the Society. Notwithstanding election of the Board much later, Panda continued as President and Hovel was provided with the necessary climate to refund the money sans interest and get rid of the threatening ghost deal issue forever.
With this congeniality established, after long four years, Hovel has returned Rs.62 lakhs against the principal amount of Rs.65.10 lakhs drawn from the Society funds and paid to it as discussed above.
The amount has clandestinely been accepted putting the Society in loss of several crores of Rupees.
If you want to have interest-free finance, you may try this trick till the Cooperation department is in charge of a saffronist minister.