Srijan scam hits R101-crore mark in Banka; overall Bihar figure R1,300 crore estimated
NGO Srijan is main beneficiary of fraudulent transfer of hundreds of crores of rupees from government accounts to its accounts, a matter that the CBI has already initiated a probe into.
The district administration of Banka in south-east Bihar has detected illegal transfer of Rs 18 crore from its land acquisition department’s account, at a cooperative bank, to the Bhagalpur-based non-governmental organization (NGO), Srijan Mahila Sahyog Vikas Samiti.
This brought the quantum of defalcation of government funds in Banka to Rs 101 crore. Last week, illegal transfer of more than Rs 83 crore to the account of the NGO from the land acquisition department’s accounts with Indian Bank and Bank of Baroda had been detected.
Srijan has been identified as the main beneficiary of fraudulent transfer of hundreds of crores of rupees from government accounts to this NGOs accounts. A CBI probe into the scam, which first surfaced in the neighbouring Bhagalpur district, is already underway.
Kundan Kumar, district magistrate of Banka, about, 253 km south-east of state capital, Patna, told HT on Thursday that the defalcation of the government fund was detected during assessment of the status of funds in different government departments. The assessment was being carried out by a team headed by the deputy development commissioner of Banka, he said.
Kumar said the funds were illegally diverted to the NGO’s account between 2009 and 2013.
Kumar said Rs 6 lakh of the defalcated amount was later ‘reconciled’ with the land acquisition department’s accounts.
Banka superintendent of police (SP) Chandan Kumar Kushwaha, said an FIR had been registered against then nazir Mohammad Anish Ansari, then land acquisition officer Jayshree Thakur , then branch manager of Bhagalpur Central Cooperative Bank and members of the Srijan Mahila Vikas Samiti.
The FIR was lodged by incumbent land acquisition officer Ajit Kumar Jha, the SP added.
Meanwhile, all the cases registered in connection with the Srijan scam at Bhagalpur, Banka and Saharsa are likely to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Patna soon.
The CBI took over the investigation of Srijan scam, in which government funds worth more than Rs1,300 crore were allegedly diverted to the accounts of the NGO.
The Srijan scam came to light when a Bhagalpur district urban development authority (DUDA) cheque for Rs 10.32 crore, issued by district magistrate Adesh Titirmare under the Mukahyamantri Shaheri Vikas Yojana, bounced on account of lack of funds.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar made a mention of the scam at an event in Patna on August 7 and the same day officials of the economic offence unit were flown to Bhagalpur to look into the matter.
The size and scope of the scam has be increasing by the day and so far diversion of more than Rs 1,300-crore fund of from various departments in Bhagalpur, Banka and Saharsa districts to the NGO has been detected.
In Bhagalpur, the funds of district urban development authority (DUDA), district nazarat, land acquisition department, health department, welfare department, district board and cooperative bank were illegally transferred to Srijan in connivance with employees of the departments and bank employees.
In Banka and Saharsa, the fund was diverted to the NGO from the land acquisition department.
Bhagalpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manoj Kumar said the 12 FIRs registered in the district involved illegal transfer of Rs 992 crore. He said nine FIRs had been registered in connection with embezzlement of Rs 624 crore and the tenth FIR involved defalcation of Rs 67 crore.
Two other cases had been registered for diversion of Rs 96 crore and Rs 115 crore, he said.
In Banka and Saharsa, the amount involved in the fraud was Rs 101 crore and Rs 162 crore, respectively.