Balasore (Odisha) May 23 (PTI) The Odisha government today began refunding money to small investors duped by different chit fund companies in the state.

The first batch of beneficiaries comprised the small investors who had lost Rs 10,000 or less to the ponzi scheme companies, official sources said.

The small depositors were identified by the Balasore district administration, they said.

Balasore additional district magistrate Manash Chandra Padhi said Rs 12.48 lakh have been refunded to 350 depositors of different chit fund companies.

The money was transferred to the bank accounts of the investors of Bhograi, Basta-Remuna, Soro and Bahanaga blocks.

The money was earlier sanctioned to the district administration by the state’s finance department from the Rs 300 crore corpus fund set up the government for the purpose of refunding money to the small depositors, the sources said.

The district administration had earlier identified 1096 small depositors in six blocks of the district, an officer said.

All the identified small depositors will get back their money in a phased manner, the additional district magistrate said.

The M N Das Commission of Inquiry has identified 1,16,504 small investors who had deposited Rs 10,000 or less and had been duped of Rs 20,000 crore by about 60 ponzi scheme companies across Odisha between 2004-2009.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.