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Unearth of biggest scam in recent times to the tune of more than Rs 300 crores in Bhagalpur, Bihar, which is likely to increase further, makes the state government busy to fix responsibilities on Srijan Mahila Vikash Sahyog Samity, a Bhagalpur based NGO and some banks. But in the background of the entire episode, one could not ignore the role of Bhagalpur district administration and some influential politicians’ involvements in it.
Unique in its kind perhaps first time in the history of this country where government funds held by the district administration under different heads were transferred to one of the cooperative society. A classical case where the district administration Bhagalpur, nationalized banks and the cooperative society connived to temporarily park huge fund for the purpose of utilization in financing activities by the very said cooperative society, which used to lend money to various business houses and real estate operators at high rate of interests.
The practice of transferring funds to the cooperative society by the district administration was followed since last one decades. District administration used to recall the amount from the said NGO, accordingly to its requirements. Since cooperative society was operating illegal bank, it managed to trap even small depositors. Even black money earned by corrupt officials, politicians and business houses was parked with the said society. Unfortunately, demise of Monorama Devi, the main pillar of the said NGO in February last, her successors failed to manage the funds which caused hue and cry within the officials and staffs of district administration here, which finally exposed the scam.
Interestingly, the district administration out rightly trying to save its involvement, tried to get back the funds from the NGO ,an amount around Rs 16 crore was transferred by the NGO in the last week of March 2017 in one of the bank account held with the Indian bank, Bhagalpur. There after the NGO could not refund any amount to the district administration, left with no option rather to institute FIR against the bank and the NGO.
Now it is alleged by the district administration that with the connivance of banker, funds were transferred to the NGO fraudulently. Actually one of the banker, bank of Baroda, Bhagalpur branch used to credit third party cheque of high values in the account of the said NGO. One case of such third party cheque of high value amounting to Rs 7.32 crore was come to light in the year 2013 when the Economic Offence Unity (EOU), Bihar was conducting raids to unearth black money mainly of Jayshree Thakur, a ADM rank official posted at Bhagalpur. At that time the secretary of the NGO, Late Manorama Devi clarified that they were running bank and Jayshree Thakur was their one of the account holder, so excepted the cheque in the name of Jayshree Thakur and got it cleared through the branch of bank of Baroda at Bhagalpur. The said NGO was engaged in banking activity, they use to open account of various persons and transect their money. On similar basis account of district administration might have been open with the said NGO for temporary parking of funds. Even officials of district administration believed that the said NGO was affiliated to the Bhagalpur district cooperative bank for carrying banking activities.
It appears that to save the skins of senior officials of the district administration and bank, a concocted story has been cooked up to victimize the lower level staffs and officials of district administration and bank by saying that the amounts were transferred to the NGO by forging the signature of official concerned. As alleged that a cheque book belonging to the district administration was fraudulently obtained from the bank to transfer the fund, does not appear to be logical. Without connivance of the account holder and banker such a huge amount to the tune of Rs 300 crore could not transfer to the NGO so easily.
Actually the said branch of bank of Baroda at Bhagalpur is considered to be the epicenter of the scam which facilitated the huge transfer of funds held by district administration in different government sponsored schemes to the account of the said NGO. Even Rs 2 crore of District Urban Development Authority (DUDA), Bhagalpur was transferred to the said NGO through bank of Baroda.
“We were instructed by Late Manorama Devi to entertain the district magistrates and the higher officials who used to visit Srijan premises frequently. I have been serving Srijan long back and right from 1996, I have been witnessing almost all the district magistrate and other officials who frequently use to visit our premises,” disclosed one employee of Srijan Mahila Vikash Sahyog Samity on condition of anonymity. Local officials preferred to be tight lipped when asked about such proximity of local officials with the said NGO.
Meanwhile, RJD supremo, Laloo Prasad Yadav today alleged the involvement of BJP leaders particularly his arch rival Sushil Kumar Modi for giving active patronage to the said NGO. “Many BJP leaders developed their closeness with the NGO and even some local BJP leaders who have been wanted by the police, reportedly absconding,” pointed out an established source. The source also claimed that some top most national level leaders of BJP also have very close relationship with the NGO. “How it is possible that without any active political patronage, such scam in a well systematic process could be taken place?” the source raised a question.