Patna: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday lodged an FIR against Bihar-based NGO Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, bank officials and others who allegedly siphoned off thousands of crores from the state government’s funds meant for various developmental projects.
Several political leaders might also come under the scanner, with JDU and RLSP already suspending two of their leaders after their names surfaced in the scam.
The CBI has already asked for files and evidences related to the case from Bihar Police. An investigating team will soon arrive and start probing the scam which dates back to 2003 when the state was being governed by RJD leader Rabri Devi.
Office bearers at Srijan, former bank managers of Bank of Baroda in Bhagalpur and Saharsa, a cashier and head assistant of Bhagalpur land acquisition office, have all been named in the FIR.
Two of the prime accused, Mahesh Mandal and Naveen, had already died till the scam came to light on August 7. Mahesh Mandal was employed as an accountant with the Bhagalpur district welfare department.
While Mandal was accused of helping transfer government funds parked in banks to Srijan’s account, Naveen was considered close to Srijan founder Manorama Devi, who died in February this year.
The size and scope of the scam is increasing by the day which first came to light on August 7, when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made a mention and the same day officials of the economic offence unit were flown to Bhagalpur.
It was only when a Rs 270 crore cheque, issued by Bhagalpur District Magistrate, Adesh Titirmare to farmers against land acquisition for a power plant, bounced.
The scam now provides fodder to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders, ousted from power when Nitish Kumar joined hands with the BJP.
They have now accused the CM and deputy CM Sushil Modi of harbouring this scam when they were in power between 2005 and 2013. On the other hand, Sushil Modi has alleged that the scam started in 2003, when RJD leader Rabri Devi was still the chief minister.
Political clout of those behind the scam has been well established as the police now look for three political leaders whose names have surfaced in the scam.
All three belong to the NDA camp, this has further emboldened RJD's attack on the government. Former BJP farmer's cell leader Vipin Sharma, is on the run as he was very close to the mastermind, Manorama Devi. BJP suspended Sharma from the party, when his name surfaced in the scam.
Also, JDU has expelled its youth wing leader Shiv Kumar Mandal, as his father Mahesh Mandal, was a prime accused in the case.
Another NDA constituent, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) was also compelled to act against its Bhagalpur district president Deepak Verma, who was allegedly working as a conduit between Manorama and bank officials.