The State Government on Monday revoked the suspension of IAS officer Gautam Goswami on humanitarian grounds. Principal Secretary, Personnel and Administrative Department Amir Subhani said Goswami’s suspension had been revoked on health ground and asked to report to the personnel department.
Goswami was suspended after he surrendered before a special court here which remanded him to judicial custody in connection with the flood relief scam. He was charged with channelising government money meant for flood relief into a labyrinth of private accounts and allegedly diverted funds to a private company named Baba Satya Sai Industrial Corporation. The record books suggested that the money was paid to BSSIC. The BSSIC, incidentally was also the acronym of Bihar Small Scale Industries Corporation that oversaw relief work. A year later, it was discovered during audits that less than 1 per cent of the money had reached those affected.
Interestingly, Goswami had earlier been named one of the Asian Heroes by TIME magazine for his supervision of relief efforts after floods hit Bihar in 2004. “A catastrophe was looming and Gautam Goswami did more than anyone to avert it. As the district magistrate – the top bureaucrat – in Patna, Bihar’s capital, Goswami coordinated a massive relief effort that involved the Indian government, army and international aid agencies,” the magazine had then said eulogizing his efforts.
As regards trial of the case, a senior Vigilance Investigation Bureau officer said that the trial of the case was being conducted in the special vigilance court of S K Panwar. “Goswami is currently on bail and revocation of his suspension has nothing to do with the trial,” he said.
The officer said the police report has already been provided to all the 13 accused, including Goswami, who was released on bail after spending almost a year in the jail. Nidhi Jha was the last among the 13 accused to surrender in the court, he added.
The officer admitted that the trial was delayed in the absence of prosecution sanction from the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, Government of India. The Ministry granted permission in the case of Goswami only last year. Soon after the prosecution preliminaries were submitted to the special vigilance court,” said an investigating officer.