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CBI'S Srijan investigation team leader transferred
Bid to scuttle probe into political nexus of scam
By Arun Srivastava
CBI additional superintendent of police (ASP) S.K. Malik, who was chief of the 20-member team probing the transfer of government funds allegedly to the accounts of an NGO called Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, has been shifted from Bhagalpur and asked to report to the CBI's headquarters in New Delhi.

What a paradox that while the CBI has been striving whole hog, following in the footsteps of Nitish Kumar's zero tolerance towards corruption, to implicate and punish Lalu and his son Tejashwi in the IRTC hotel case, it has been meticulously scuttling the probe into Srijan and protecting prominent political heads. This is not a new phenomenon. It happens in the CBI. Even during the probe in the fodder scam, Ranjit Sinha was sent from Delhi to replace Joint Director U N Biswas. However, the monitoring bench of the Patna High Court for the fodder scam foiled the CBI's maneouvres. Naturally the removal of Malik has not come as a surprise.

The CBI has been desperately searching for evidences to build up a strong case against Lalu and Tejashwi. Their primary target, of course, has been Tejashwi, who through his maiden show as the leader of opposition in the assembly on the issue of vote of trust won accolades and also unnerved the treasury bench.

Leaders of the ruling dispensation find in him a potential threat to their political survival. His speech was appreciated even by some leaders of the ruling combination. The RJD leaders also say that in recent times Lalu Yadav was grooming him to take the mantle.

Speculations are rife in the political circles that the CBI, at the prop of some senior Bihari BJP leaders, is out to frame him in the land case. This eventually would ruin his political career at the tender age. Also the agency, at the behest of someone, has been trying to protect the political leaders in Srijan case. Else, there was no reason for Malik to proceed to Delhi leaving the charge of the case.

Malik, in fact, has been seriously pursuing the case and had recently urged the CBI court to issue arrest warrants against some bureaucrats and politicians whose role in the scam was on the CBI's radar. He had planned to take these people on remand and interrogate them. This would have unraveled the plot and the conspiracy.

Malik was shifted only after he submitted a preliminary report to the CBI headquarters. At least five IAS officers, who had served as Bhagalpur district magistrate (DM), and three politicians with strong connections in the east Bihar district were under the CBI scanner. Besides several politicians, bureaucrats and bank officials are also under watch.

The CBI has already sought permission from the court to shift all the 17 arrested accused to Patna's Beur Central Jail as the cases related to the scam would be heard in the special CBI court in the state capital. Earlier, ASP Malik had personally met special CBI judge Gayatri Kumari, who had granted permission to the investigating team to interrogate the accused in the jail.

Meanwhile, the CBI has already accessed the accounts of the beneficiaries in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh). Large amounts have been deposited to bank accounts in Calcutta, Ghaziabad and Delhi. "We have sought details of the transactions from the banks," said an investigating officer adding the transactions had been done between 2012 and 2013 from Bank of Baroda and Indian Bank.

On its part the Bhagalpur district administration has fixed a deadline to submit reports on the status of accounts from all the 242 panchayats under 16 blocks in the district. The audit of the government accounts has also begun on the direction of the district magistrate.

—(IPA Service)

News Updated at : Thursday, October 12, 2017
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