Bihar’s Srijan scam gets even bigger, another FIR lodged for missing ₹100 crore
The fresh siphoning off government money came to light after an accountant general conducted a special audit of the welfare department, Bhagalpur.
Yet another FIR has been lodged in Bhagalpur in connection with the illegal transfer of Bihar government funds to the account of Srijan, an NGO for women’s development, which has emerged as the epicentre of a massive scam whose magnitude keeps growing every year.
The latest police complaint, lodged on Wednesday night by Bhagalpur welfare officer (DWO) Shyam Prasad Yadav, has accused the NGO, the then branch managers of Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Indian Bank and others of illegally withdrawing ₹99.88 crore from the accounts of the district administration concerned.
Police said that after the detection of alleged embezzlement of over ₹100 crore, belonging to the SC/ST welfare department, from the bank accounts, the DWO has submitted an application with the Kotwali police station to lodge an FIR against Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti (SMVSS).
The DWO has named the SMVSS managing committee members, former and present officials of a nationalized bank and others for committing financial irregularities that started way back in 2007. With this, the total number of FIRs lodged in the infamous Srijan scam has reached 25.
The fresh siphoning off government money came to light after an accountant general conducted a special audit of the welfare department, Bhagalpur and found fraudulent transfers of ₹99.88 crore between 2007 and 2017. The joint secretary of the welfare department, ordered Bhagalpur DM Pranav Kumar to lodge an FIR in this regard. Meanwhile, the latest FIR in connection with the Srijan scam is likely to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Patna soon.
Sources in the Bhagalpur administration informed that earlier two separate FIRs were lodged with the Kotwali police in connection with the scam of ₹221.60 crore, related to the welfare department. The then DWOs, Ramiswar Sharma, Ramlala Singh, Lalan Kumar and Arun Kumar (currently in jail) and others were involved in the scam.
The Srijan scandal broke out when a few cheques issued by the Bhagalpur district administration were dishonoured citing ‘lack of funds’ in the government account. The Bhagalpur police lodged the first FIR in the Srijan fund transfer scam on August 7, 2017, after a cheque of ₹17.70 crore of the urban development department bounced due to lack of funds in the account. The following day, two more cases involving over ₹350 crore surfaced.
It is estimated that more than ₹2,400 crore was fraudulently transferred from district project accounts to the Srijan bank accounts with the help of bureaucrats, politicians, staff of the commissionerate, bankers, and Srijan staff led by its late founder Manorama Devi.
Till date, Bihar police has lodged 25 FIRs at Bhagalpur, Saharsa and Banka districts, in which CBI took up 22 FIRs for investigation and filed 14 separate charge sheets against two former district magistrates of Bhagalpur—KP Ramaiah and Birendra Kumar Yadav-- former ADMs Jaishree Thakur and Rajiv Ranjan Singh besides officials of Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and the Indian Bank.