A case was lodged against 27 persons, including chief minister Nitish Kumar, in a special vigilance court at Muzaffarpur on Thursday in connection with the alleged misappropriation of public money in purchase of medicines in different jails of the state.
Kumar’s name figured in the complaint case as he is also holding the charge of Home Department. The complaint has been lodged in the court of Bipin Bihari Pandey under sections 7,8,11,12,13, (1), 13 (II) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and sections 420, 467 and 468 of the Indian Penal Code. The court has fixed January 21 as the next date of hearing.
The complaint, filed by Muzaffarpur-based lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha, alleged that prison department officials had purchased medicines for prisoners lodged in different jails of north Bihar at rates much higher than the market price. The medicines were being purchased since 2004.
“The medicines were meant for prisoners suffering from various diseases and were to be distributed free of cost. Under such circumstances, the medicines should have been purchased at lower rates, which was not done in this case,” Ojha said. He has quoted the market rate of medicines at the time of purchase.
Interestingly, the medicines were bought from the pharmaceutical company, which had ceased its production during the period when the purchases were allegedly made. To buttress his point, Ojha submitted a list of 16 medicines, which were purchased.
What is more interesting is that former Union minister for chemicals and fertilizer Ram Vilas Paswan, the then deputy secretary in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizer, Suresh Kumar and Rajiv Ranjan Ojha (both local residents) have been made witnesses in the complaint case.
Besides the chief minister, the names of the then IG (Prisons), jail superintendents of Motihari, Hajipur, Bettiah, Chapra, Muzaffarpur, Begusarai, Sheohar, Bagaha, Siwan, Gopalganj, Benipatti, Darbhanga, Madhubani and Rosera jails, officials of the Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals and Sada Shiv Pharma (Patna) figured in the complaint case. The doctors posted in these jails have also been made accused in the case.
The complaint said the sales promoting officer of the Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals, Praveen Kumar and area sales manager Birendra Kumar in alleged connivance with the officials of Shivshankar Enterprises and Sada Shiv Pharma supplied medicines to different jails at much higher rates than they were available in the market.