The ordeal of former Patna District Magistrate Gautam Goswami is not yet over. The State Vigilance Investigation Bureau has decided to send a fresh reminder to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) seeking permission to prosecute him in the flood relief scam case.
A senior official of the Bureau said on Thursday that the reminder would be sent to DoPT in a couple of days on the basis of observations made by the Patna High Court while granting bail to Goswami. Goswami stepped out of the Beur Central Jail on Wednesday after spending 500 days in judicial custody.
The officer associated with the investigation into the Rs 18-crore flood relief scam told the Hindustan Times that though they had provided details of the charges against the IAS officer, the delay in granting prosecution sanction benefited the accused.
The State Government had already given nod to prosecute Goswami and other government officials in the case, he added.
The DoPT had sought details of the nature of charges against Goswami, a 1992 batch IAS officer, from the Bihar Government recently. "The information given to the DoPT was inadequate," remarked an officer. Goswami was suspended during the Presidents' Rule after the then Governor Buta Singh gave his approval under the All India Services Discipline Rules— Rule-3 (3).
The Bureau had first submitted the chargesheet in the case on August 24 last year against Goswami and eight others. The second chargesheet was submitted on October 11, 2005 followed by the final chargesheet in April this year. The Bureau had also provided a copy of the charges to the accused so that the trial could begin.
"But, the court was of the opinion that the trial of all the accused should be held together," the Bureau official said.
The Bureau is hopeful of getting all 23 accused prosecuted. "We have enough evidence against the accused. Though the former Patna DM has been released on bail due to delay in grant of prosecution sanction from the Centre, this is not going to affect the case in any way," said an investigating officer.