September 21, 2020

Assets blow to Srijan accused

Patna: The trouble for the accused in the Srijan scam has deepened with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiating the process to confiscate their ill-gotten assets under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Cases lodged in connection with the Rs 1,400 crore scam involving Bhagalpur-based non-government organisation Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti are being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Sources said the ED registered enforcement case investigation report (ECIR) based on the cases lodged by the CBI. A total of 17 people have been arrested in the cases related to the scam in Bhagalpur and its neighbouring districts.

Sources said two prime accused – Priya and Amit Kumar – daughter in-law and son of the founding member of the Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, Manorama Devi, are still at large. Nineteen people have been made accused in connection with the scam.

Last week, senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari lashed out at the investigating agency for its failure to arrest the main accused in the case. Tiwari expressed surprise over the CBI’s failure to question any district magistrate in the cases so far. ED sources said more ECIRs would be lodged in the coming days. The CBI has already filed its first chargesheet in the scam.

The investigating agency had found evidence of joint accounts of some of the accused in banks. The scam came to the fore last year when a Bhagalpur District Urban Development Authority (DUDA) cheque, issued by then district magistrate, was dishonoured because of insufficient funds in the bank account.

Initial probe revealed that the Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, a women’s cooperative society based at Sabour in Bhagalpur, already procured cheque books from banks and forged signature of the district magistrate to transfer government funds to its account.

The investigation also pointed to the involvement of nationalised banks, government employees in the fraudulent withdrawal of funds to the tune Rs 1,400 crore in Bhagalpur, Banka and Saharsa in the past decade.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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