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Srijan scam: I-T teams search premises of Sushil Modi’s kin, others

The Rs 1,900 crore corruption scandal relates to the Srijan Mahila Sahyog Samiti, an NGO, in whose accounts large amount of government funds were allegedly fraudulently transferred between 2004 and 2014.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2018 22:57 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Patna/Bhagalpur/Purnia
srijan scam,sushil kumar modi,income tax raids
Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi arrives for the BJP Chief Ministers' Council meeting in New Delhi, on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. His cousin’s Patna residence was raided on September 6 in connection with the Srijan scam. (Sonu Mehta/HT Photo )

In a first major action after the CBI lodged FIRs in the Rs 1,900-crore Srijan scam, the income-tax (I-T) department on Thursday carried out search operations at 15 places in Bihar, including the house of deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s cousin and business establishments located in a Bhagalpur mall.

I-T searches were also carried at business establishments owned by Bhagalpur BJP leader Bipin Sharma and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party leader Dipak Kumar Verma.

A Patna district police official said I-T sleuths searched Rekha Modi’s residence in the state capital as part of the scam related to the siphoning of government funds. The I-T teams also searched other business establishments in Patna, Purnia and Bhagalpur.

“A team of the I-T department searched Rekha Modi’s residence — a flat in Saraswati Apartment in SP Verma road area. The team conducted searches in connection with the Srijan scam,” the official added. The search continued till late evening.

An Income Tax official said that so far a 500-page document had been seized during the search operations.

“These raids were carried out at those establishments who were the beneficiaries of Srijan scam,” said the I-T official. “Papers related to land deals, bank accounts and locker details were also found,” he added.

The Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Limited has been identified as the main beneficiary of fraudulent transfer of more than Rs 1,900-crore government fund to this NGO’s accounts in connivance with district officials and bankers. A CBI probe into the scam, which first surfaced in Bhagalpur district, is already underway.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar had on August 18, 2017 recommended a CBI probe into the scam after RJD chief Lalu Prasad accused him of “murdering democracy”.

The NGO used to provide vocational training to women in Bhagalpur and its office is located in Sabour block of Bhagalpur district.

In August last year, the CBI registered more than 18 cases related to the scam.

One of the allegations levelled against Rekha Modi, a social activist, is that her name figured as one of the beneficiaries of the government funds transferred fraudulently to the account(s) of the NGO between 2008 and 2017 at Bhagalpur.

Records available with the special investigative team, set up by the Bihar Police to investigate the scam on orders of the chief minister, also show that diamond jewellery worth Rs 14 crore was bought directly with funds from Srijan and given to the wives and children of many bureaucrats and politicians.

Rekha Modi was directly identified as a beneficiary by the owner of the jewellery store whom the investigators approached for details.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) claimed she was related to BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who has denied any links with Rekha Modi.

“Rekha Modi is my distant cousin. I don’t have any business or financial connection with her. She is involved in many criminal and civil cases with her brother. In one of such case she has dragged my name also. I have not met her in last 10 yrs,” the deputy CM tweeted on Thursday.

Leader of opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav called this search an “eyewash to save Sushil Modi.”

I-T sleuths also carried out searches at business establishments and houses of suspected beneficiaries of the scam at Bhagalpur. The teams searched shops and residential premises of suspected beneficiaries, including businessmen PK Ghosh, and Kishore Ghosh.

The search operation was also carried out at business an establishment owned by Kishore Ghosh of Bhagalpur at Bhatta Bazar and at a showroom of an apparel retailer at Chitravani Road in Purnia.

Both the business establishment are said to be owned by Srijan beneficiaries.

First Published: Sep 06, 2018 15:03 IST