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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Ex-Jharkhand minister Bandhu Tirkey held in national games scam case

Bandhu Tirkey’s arrest comes a week after the Jharkhand high court sought diary of the case to decide his anticipatory bail application.

ranchi Updated: Sep 05, 2019 06:57 IST
Bedanti Saran
Bedanti Saran
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Bandhu Tirkey after his arrest in Ranchi on Wednesday.
Bandhu Tirkey after his arrest in Ranchi on Wednesday.(Diwakar Prasad/ HT Photo)
         

The state’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Wednesday arrested senior JVM (P) leader and former sports minister Bandhu Tirkey in connection with its ongoing probe into the multi-crore games equipment purchase scam in the run-up to 34th National Games held in Ranchi in 2011.

It was alleged that Tirkey, the then sports ministers, had granted final approvals to all murky deals related to purchase of equipment and other logistics for the games that caused a loss of Rs 28.34 crore to the exchequer.

Tirkey’s arrest comes a week after the Jharkhand high court sought diary of the case to decide his anticipatory bail application.

Soon after his arrest, Tirkey told media persons, “The ACB, without having an arrest warrant, took the action under a conspiracy hatched by the ruling BJP government. It doesn’t have any evidence against me.”

On Wednesday, the former HRD and sports minister had gone to the Ranchi district court to appear before a special CBI court that was trying a separate disproportionate assets case lodged by the CBI against him.

When he came out of the court premises, the ACB sleuths swooped on him to make the arrest.

Tirkey was then taken to ACB office and later produced before the special court of in-charge judge Diwakar Pandey.

“The court forwarded Tirkey to Birsa Munda Central Jail under judicial custody till September 18. We will file a bail petition on Thursday,” Tirkey’s lawyer Sanjay Kumar said.

Tirkey is currently the second top leader of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) after its president Babulal Marandi, Jharkhand’s first chief minister. Party’s another leader and Poryahat legislator Pradeep Yadav has been languishing in jail in an attempt to rape charge.

Tirkey has been active in strengthening the JVM (P) for the upcoming assembly polls. His arrest before the elections is considered as a major jolt to the party.

The ACB says it has found that games equipment was purchased in violation of government’s financial rules. In many cases, equipment was purchased without inviting tenders and while in some other cases, the lowest bidders were not allocated supply orders.

Besides, sports articles were purchased in excess to their actual requirement and much above the market price, it has claimed.

Tirkey is third person who has been arrested by the ACB in this case. Earlier, it had arrested members of tender committee, PC Mishra and SM Hashmi.

However, the then treasurer of the national games organising committee (NGOC), Madhu Kant Pathak, had surrendered before the court. Mishra, Hashmi and Pathak are currently out on bail.

The bureau had also questioned Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) former president and former union minister Suresh Kalmadi, Jharkhand Olympic Association president R K Anand and former IOA director ASB Prasad in this connection.

First Published: Sep 05, 2019 06:57 IST