NGO siphons of Rs 295-cr govt funds in Bihar; Big scam, says Nitish, orders probe
Soon after CM Kumar announced the detection of the scam, in Patna, a team of officials, led by GS Gangwar, IG, economic offence unit, left for Bhagalpur to start probe into the misappropriation of funds.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar announced here on Wednesday that a scam of more than Rs 295 crore, by way of an illegal transfer of government funds by a non-governmental organization (NGO), had been unearthed in Bhagalpur.
The ‘sensational revelation’ came on a day, when RJD leader and former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav launched his ‘Janadesh Apman Yatra’ to ‘expose’ Kumar for the betrayal of the 2015 Bihar assembly poll mandate for the grand alliance and joining forces with the BJP to form a new government,
Soon after Kumar made this announcement, a team of officials, led by GS Gangwar, IG, economic offence unit (EOU), emplaned for Bhagalpur to start inquiries into what is suspected to be a major financial scam in Bihar.
Though Kumar refused to divulge the details or to name anybody, the timing of the revelation and the quickness with which the team from state headquarters was dispatched, indicated the possibility of some political links in the siphoning of government fund.
“No scam will be tolerated. This is just one district. The government was getting reports of such scams from other districts as well. Kahan Kahan farziwada chal raha hai (There is scam everywhere)” he said, cryptically.
Sources in the Bhagalpur administration said the probe related to the siphoning of government funds, close to Rs 295.36 crore, earmarked for the Mukhiyamantri Shahari Vikas Yojana, besides funds meant for land acquisition.
According to sources, the fraudulent withdrawal of government funds that remained unnoticed at administrative level during recent years was detected only after a cheque purported to have been issued by the Bhagalpur administration was dishonoured.
As such, an FIR was lodged on Tuesday evening at Tilkamanjhi PS in connection with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 10.26 crore fund of the Mukhyamantri Shahari Vikas Yojana, against board members of Srijan Sahayog Mahila Vikas Samiti, a Sabour based NGO and concerned officials of Indian Bank.
Thereafter, two more FIR’s were lodged on Wednesday in connection with fraudulent withdrawal of funds of land acquisition department.
The FIR’s were lodged on directive of DM Adesh T. The probe into the scam has so far revealed that act of fraudulently siphoning government fund was continuing since late 2014.
Cheque books of an account in which government fund had been kept in Indian Bank branch at Patel Babu road, Bhagalpur, were procured by using fake signature of the DM for siphoning off the funds.
Denying that any cheque issued by the administration had been dishonoured, the DM said it was a tip off that led to detection of the scam. “Prima facie it seems bank officials were involved in helping the NGO in siphoning of government funds,” he said.
Adesh said he had no inkling of siphoning of funds as the accounts statements received from bank only reflected withdrawal of funds by the administration. “Everything was clearly entered in book of accounts maintained by the administration and there was no scope for any doubt of withdrawal of government funds from the bank,” he added.
As per information, the cheques in the cheque books procured fraudulently through false signature of DM were used by the NGO for siphoning of the funds. To avoid cheque dishonour, that could alarm the administration, the NGO ensured the amount mentioned therein was always available in the account.
Bhagalpur SSP Manoj Kumar said, “The probe so far has revealed fraudulent withdrawal of approximately Rs 270 crore from government account meant for Mukhyamantri Shahari Vikas Yojana and land acquisition,” he said.
The SSP said authorities of the bank branch who had remained posted in the branch since the fraudulent withdrawals started in 2014 have been named in the FIR lodged in connection with the scam.