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Srijan scam: Higher amount refunded into govt account, by ‘unknown sources’

An audit report of the bank account has revealed that the amount refunded into it — Rs 2.5 crore — was in excess of that “fraudulently transferred” from it allegedly by Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti.

patna Updated: Jan 19, 2018 14:31 IST
Avijit Biswas
Avijit Biswas
Hindustan Times, Bhagalpur
Srijan scam,Bihpur,Block
The Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, a women’s cooperative society based at Sabour in Bhagalpur district, 240 km east of Patna, has been identified as the beneficiary of the more than Rs 1,400-crore government fund transfer scam. (HT FILE PHOTO)

The bank account of Bihpur block office in Bhagalpur district is richer by Rs 15.72 lakh, not from interest accrued on the deposit, but through amount credited by “undisclosed sources”.

An audit report of the bank account in the Bhagalpur branch of Bank of Baroda (BOB) has revealed that the amount refunded into it — Rs 2.5 crore — was in excess of that “fraudulently transferred” from it allegedly by Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti.

Suspecting fraud, Bihpur block development officer Satyendra Kumar Singh, who is authorised to operate the account, has written to the Bhagalpur Kotwali police station SHO for lodging an FIR against a former and the present manager of the bank’s branch, apart from office-bearers of Srijan.

However, the FIR is yet to be registered. Bhagalpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manoj Kumar said it would be done after getting some additional information concerning audit findings from block authorities.

This is the first such case the district audit team has come across while verifying government department accounts following the detection of the Srijan scam.

The Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, a women’s cooperative society based at Sabour in Bhagalpur district, 240 km east of Patna, has been identified as the beneficiary of the more than Rs 1,400-crore government fund transfer scam. A CBI probe into the scam is already underway.

The Bihpur block account, opened with BOB at Bhagalpur for handling Indira Awas Yojana funds, was operational between July 21, 2008 and July 24, 2009, district officials said.

After the scam came to light, Bhagalpur district magistrate (DM) Adesh T ordered an audit of the account which was initiated in August last year.

The audit team, on verification of cash book, passbook and bank statement of Bihpur block’s account detected that Rs 2.34 crore was credited into it by Srijan Samiti.

The transaction details showed that another Rs 15.72 lakh was credited by undisclosed sources even after the account was suspended in December 2009, they said.

The bank passbook and block cash book entries have confirmed the deposits, the officers said.

They said the amount deposited when the account was operational, was subsequently transferred to Srijan. After rotating the money, it was deposited into the account again, the officers said.

The Srijan scam came to light when a Bhagalpur district urban development authority (DUDA) cheque for Rs 10.32 crore, issued by the district magistrate under the Mukahyamantri Shaheri Vikas Yojana, bounced due to lack of funds.

An initial probe revealed that the cooperative society 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. The probe also pointed to involvement of nationalised banks, government officials and employees in the fraudulent withdrawal of government funds in three districts of Bhagalpur, Banka and Saharsa.

The size and scope of the scam has been increasing by the day and so far, diversion of more than Rs 1,400-crore fund from various departments in Bhagalpur, Banka and Saharsa districts to the Srijan has been detected.

First Published: Jan 19, 2018 14:31 IST