The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Soren raises blanket stink

Ranchi, Jan. 23: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha president Sibu Soren broke his long spell of silence today with the suggestion that the state government construct a 100-bed hostel in the new Hotwar central jail campus to house the “corrupt” ministers in the Babulal Marandi government, along with their officials.

Such a hostel in the jail campus off Ranchi — now under construction — would be useful once the “lid was blown off the numerous scams” perpetrated by the minister and officials, claimed Soren.

The JMM chief released an open questionnaire here containing a list of 10 posers. Soren pointed out that hundreds of jeeps have been procured for the police force, alleging that the chief minister’s principal secretary, R.K. Shrivastava, had made many trips to Mumbai and made a lot of money “for himself”. The principal secretary had recently amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, he alleged.

Soren also called upon the chief minister to divulge the identity of the “lady” who, he claimed, had joined Marandi’s entourage from Calcutta en route to Southeast Asian countries last month. “Who was this woman to whom all the accompanying team members and ministers were required to pay obeisance'” he asked.

The JMM chief pointed out that the lid was blown off the “blanket scam”, which The Telegraph had exposed on January 10.

Blankets meant for the police force were rejected on grounds of being of inferior quality, though later the same quality of blankets were procured at a much higher price. “Who were the officers who benefited from the deal'” the JMM chief wondered.

Soren also alleged that a Singapore-based firm had obtained the contract for constructing a bridge over the Ganga at Sahebganj on the basis of fake documents, ostensibly after bribing many officials. He called upon the chief minister to make public all documents in this regard. “Reveal the identities of relatives of all ministers who have been got contracts for construction of irrigation projects in Palamau district,” he demanded.

The JMM chief pointed out that while the government was harping on development every day, bulldozers were used to uproot hundreds of tribals and Dalits officially settled on Khas Mahal land at Hazaribagh.

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