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CBI takes over probe into Rs 800 crore Srijan scam in Bihar

An NGO, helped by government officials and bankers, allegedly siphoned off nearly Rs 1000 crore from the government treasury in Bihar between 2007-2013.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2017 15:19 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
Srijan scam,Bihar scam,Nitish Kumar
Police seal the Srijan Mahila Sahyog Samiti office after the scam was detected.(HT file phtoto)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will investigate the Srijan scam involving alleged transfer of government funds amounting to more than Rs 800 crore to accounts of a non-government organisation in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district.

A notification for the probe was issued on Thursday by the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions.

The scam took place between 2007 and 2013, when BJP leader Sushil Modi was the finance minister though the government says the NGO, Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, was authorised to transfer funds in 2003 when RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s wife, Rabri Devi, was the chief minister.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar ordered a CBI probe into the scam last week as he moved quickly to rob the Opposition of an issue to question his policy of zero-tolerance on corruption.

The chief minister decided to hand over the case to the central agency after a high-level review meeting with chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, DGP P K Thakur, principal secretary (home) Amir Subhani and inspector general of police (IG), economic offence unit (EOU), Jitendra Singh Gangwar, who was sent to Bhagalpur to inquire into the matter.

An initial probe has revealed involvement of nationalised banks, government officials and employees in the fraudulent withdrawal of government funds in three districts of Bhagalpur, Banka and Saharsa.

Earlier, opposition parties led by leader of the opposition in Bihar assembly, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad had called for a CBI probe into the scam.

The scam came as a major embarrassment for Kumar, who had broken ranks with the opposition to join the BJP-led NDA last month on the issue of corruption charges against Tejashwi and other members of Lalu Prasad’s family.

Alarmed over the magnitude of the scam, Bihar chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh has asked all district magistrates to get their accounts checked thoroughly, raising doubts that the government may have been caught napping, even as it was the government, which eventually detected the scam.

The scam went unnoticed for so long as the NGO managed to furnish doctored bank statements and passbooks with the help of bankers and government officials.

The NGO allegedly used to procure cheque books from banks and forge signature of the district magistrate to issue cheques in its own favour, transferring huge funds to its account.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 15:03 IST