"I dedicate this victory to the poor people, who had invested money in these fraud companies in good faith," said activist Alok Jena, who moved the Apex Court.

The court's order has also been welcomed by the leaders of state's opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) while the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said it never opposed such a probe.

"The state government investigated the cases in the best possible ways. At least 400 people were arrested, a commission was appointed to probe the scams. Steps were taken to compensate the victims," said BJD vice-president Kalpataru Das.

"In spite of that the state government had clearly said it will have no objection if the court decides to direct the CBI to probe the cases. We were not opposed to it," he said.

Former union minister and senior BJP leader Jual Oram said his party had been demanding a CBI probe since long.

"The Apex Court has realised the need for such a probe. We welcome the court's decision. We hope the CBI will identify the politicians and officials who provided patronage to ponzi schemes operators, and prosecute them," Oram said.

Senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra said it became clear from the judgment that the state government was providing protection to the chit fund companies.

"We welcome the SC verdict. We hope the culprits will be punished," he said.

The Supreme Court earlier in the day directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate into the chit fund scams in several states including Odisha.

The alleged scams came to light after many investors few years back complained that several firms collected huge amounts of money from them promising high returns but later refused to pay back as promised.

At least 44 companies in Odisha will be probed by the CBI. They include Kolkata-based Saradha Group, and Odisha-based Seashore and Artha Tatwa groups. The loss from the scam is claimed to be running into billions of rupees.


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