The Enforcement Directorate (ED) interrogated Shradhanjali, an erstwhile close associate of Archana Nag who is the prime accused in the alleged extortion and blackmailing case in Odisha, for the second time.
“Shrandhanjali was interrogated for about 12 hours in Bhubaneswar on November 25, in connection with the extortion of ₹3 crore from Odia film producer Akshay Parija,” an ED official said. “Her driver Chandan was also questioned by the Central probe body,” he said.
This was the second time that Shradhanjali was interrogated by the ED in the case. She was interrogated for the first time on November 23.
Mr. Parija had filed a complaint at the Nayapalli police station in Bhubaneswar, in October, alleging that Archana Nag and Shradhanjali had demanded ₹3 crore from him in October or face consequences. He too was questioned on Friday.
The grilling of Shradhanjali for the second time assumes importance as the ED is likely to take Archana and her husband Jagabandhu Chand on remand.
After falling out with the couple, she had said in a complaint lodged at the Khandagiri police station alleging that she was used by Archana in the racket. Shradhanjali had also alleged that Archana forced women into prostitution and she was a victim of the racket.
The ED is investigating the financial transactions of Archana Nag and her husband after it was ascertained that the couple has amassed property worth ₹30 crore in a span of only four years from 2018. The couple was accused of blackmailing rich and influential persons and earning in crores by trapping them in the sex racket.
The ED has also interrogated Gangadhar Samal, a businessman and brother of a BJD MLA, after it was found that he has paid ₹30 lakh to Archana.
“I have not given any money to Archana. I just returned ₹30 lakh to her which she had given to purchase a car from show room,” Mr. Samal told reporters after his interrogation on Thursday night.
The counsel for ED, Gopal Agarwal said the probe agency on Thursday moved a production petition before the district court in Bhubaneswar seeking the presence of the couple. The issue has rocked Odisha Assembly which is in session since Thursday.