September 28, 2020

Officer’s can of crores tumbles out

Patna: The special vigilance unit continued its operation against suspended IPS officer Vivek Kumar for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday and detected more cash and property disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The raiding team recovered Rs 1.39 crore cash from the four lockers – one each of Vijaya Bank and Canara Bank and two of Indian Overseas Bank – at Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, taking the total value of unaccounted wealth – cash and other assets – of Vivek and his close relatives to around Rs 3.5 crore.

Since the search operations started on Monday, cash amounting to Rs 1.62 crore has been recovered from Vivek’s official residence at Muzaffarpur and that of his in-laws’ home in Muzaffarnagar.

Sharing details of Thursday’s operation, a senior police official said that while the search of the locker of Vijaya Bank yielded Rs 36 lakh cash, Rs 77 lakh cash was recovered from the two lockers of Indian Overseas Bank. Another Rs 26.40 lakh was found from the fourth locker of Canara Bank. The lockers were allotted jointly to Vivek’s father-in-law Ved Prakash Karnawal and mother in-law Uma Rani.

On Wednesday, documents pertaining to fixed deposits worth Rs 1.65 crore, Rs 25 lakh cash and jewellery worth Rs 32 lakh were seized from the two lockers at Vijaya Bank jointly held by Ved Prakash and Uma Rani at Muzaffarnagar. A day earlier, the vigilance team had found keys to six lockers and froze them with immediate effect. Seven insurance policies worth several lakhs were detected during the search of the Saharanpur residence of Vivek on Wednesday.

During the search of Vivek’s official residence in Muzaffarpur, where he was posted as senior superintendent of police (SSP) at the time of his suspension, the vigilance sleuths had seized Rs 7.69 lakh cash, jewellery worth Rs 6.25 lakh and Rs 54,000 in demonetised currency notes on Monday. The seized documents also suggested that 22 fixed deposits, each of Rs 1 lakh, were made on a single day (November 13, 2016) with the Ansari Road branch of State Bank of India in the name of Vivek’s wife Nidhi Karnawal, only six months after the 2007 batch IPS officer joined as Muzaffarpur SSP. A total of Rs 27 lakh in fixed deposits had so far been detected by the investigating agency.

While Vivek is a resident of Saharanpur, his in-laws resided at Muzaffarnagar. Vivek, a 2007 batch IPS officer, had assumed charge as SSP of Muzaffarpur in April 2016. Earlier, he was posted as SSP of Bhagalpur where he courted controversy for his alleged links with the sand mining mafia.

Sources said that altogether 91 fixed deposits worth Rs 1.27 crore were made during Vivek’s tenure as SSP of Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur in the name of his wife and in-laws. Of these, 34 fixed deposits worth Rs 60.08 lakh were done in the name of his parents-in-law.

Another vigilance team, which is camping in Muzaffarpur, stumbled upon over 80 complaints related to misconduct and misuse of official position by the police personnel posted in the district. Vivek preferred to keep mum when the investigating officials sought to know from him the reason for suppressing the complaints, which were of serious nature, sources associated with the investigation said.

On April 17, the state government suspended Vivek after a disproportionate assets case was lodged with the special vigilance unit police station in Patna against him and his in-laws. In the FIR, Vivek and his relatives were accused of accumulating property worth Rs 1.06 crore disproportionate to known sources of income.

A top source said a police team would visit New Delhi soon to inquire about Vivek’s connections in the national capital. He was likely to be appointed as under-secretary to a central union minister.

The search on Vivek’s premises was continuing till late on Thursday. “This is perhaps the longest search conducted by an anti-corruption wing of the state police in the past several decades,” a director-general-rank IPS officer told The Telegraph.

Vivek is the first serving IPS officer against whom a disproportionate assets case had been lodged by the special vigilance unit. Earlier, a former director-general of police, Narayan Misra, and his family members were accused of amassing property disproportionate to known source of income.

Surprisingly, no FIR has been lodged in connection with the recovery of a country-made carbine from the confidential section of the Muzaffarpur SSP’s residence. The confidential reader, Dinesh Yadav, has gone underground.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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