In a significant ruling, the Odisha High Court on Wednesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the multi-crore Baleswar chit fund case in which at least two lakh investors of the State alone were duped by Kanpur and Mumbai based fraudulent multilevel marketing companies.

Asking the CBI to file its first status report on investigation within three months, the High Court also directed the Odisha crime branch police—which was investigating into the case for last three years—to cooperate with the Central investigating agency.

A Division Bench of the HC headed by Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda entrusted the CBI to probe into the case while adjudicating over the maintainability of a petition filed by one All India Networks’ Welfare Trust. The Trust had approached the HC seeking return of its members’ invested amount in the companies which were allegedly being run by Bollywood filmmaker Nasser Khan and his associates.

While the trust claimed that at least 6,500 of its members had invested an unsubstantial amount in Nasser’s Kanpur-based Company -- Fine Indsales Pvt Ltd -- the Odisha police sources maintain that at least two lakh investors, mostly from Balasore and Bhadrak districts,have also invested over Rs. 1000 crore with the cmpany.