ED attaches over Rs 14 cr assets in Bihar’s Srijan scam case
The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday said it has attached assets amounting to Rs 14.32 crore of Bihar-based NGO Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti as part of a money laundering probe against it.
The NGO is under the probe scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED after a Rs 1,000 crore scam by alleged embezzlement of government funds was reported in 2017.
“The attached assets include 20 flats at Noida, Ghaziabad, Pune, Ranchi, Bhagalpur and Patna, 19 shops at Noida, Ghaziabad and Bhagalpur, 33 plots or houses in Bihar, a Volkswagen car and bank balance to the tune of Rs 4.84 crore,” the agency said in a statement.
A provisional order for attachment of the properties, worth Rs 14.32 crore, was issued by the ED against Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Limited (SMVSSL) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The agency slapped money laundering charges in the case on the basis of a CBI FIR. The CBI has also filed multiple charge sheets in the case.
The ED said its investigation found that “from 2003-04 funds to the tune of Rs 557 crore were siphoned off from government accounts after being illegally transferred to the bank accounts of the NGO (Srijan)”. “Late Manorma Devi was the secretary of the society (NGO) since inception till her death on February 13, 2017.
“She was the main accused, who along with others involved in misappropriating the government funds in collusion with government and bank officials,” the ED alleged.
The money transferred into the bank accounts of SMVSSL was further transferred through RTGS, cash and cheques to various entities, it said.
“These illegally transferred funds were also utilised to acquire properties in the name of family members of Manorma Devi, government officials and others,” the agency said. The CBI had also alleged that the ‘Samiti’ (NGO), which was working to impart training to women, had pilfered government funds in connivance with bank officials and state government officials between 2003 and 2014.
An initial probe by local police had revealed that the ‘Samiti’, based at Sabour in Bhagalpur district of Bihar, allegedly procured cheque books from banks and forged signature of the district magistrate to transfer government funds to its account.
The probe had also pointed to the involvement of nationalised banks and government officials in the fraudulent withdrawal of funds in three districts of Bhagalpur, Banka and Saharsa.