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Bihar top cop raided in CLEAN drive

Patna, Feb. 7: These are troubled times for the chiefs of home guards.

If it’s the disappearance of son Bitihotra after being released on parole and the subsequent pressure exerted by Rajasthan police the cause of headache for B.B. Mahanti in Orissa, his counterpart in Bihar, Narayan Mishra, finds himself in a spot for alleged corruption.

A special cell of the vigilance bureau raided the properties of Mishra and his relatives at Patna and Hazaribagh (Jharkhand) this morning, recovering cash and investment papers worth over Rs 8 lakh besides “incriminating documents” that point at “illegal earnings”.

The sleuths also recovered a “huge amount” of jewellery from the DGP and his wife. The value of the catch was yet to be ascertained and evaluators were at work when the report was filed.

A disproportionate assets case had been lodged against Mishra that accused him of amassing wealth worth Rs 67 lakh beyond his known sources of income. “The raids were a natural corollary to the case,” said inspector-general (special cell), Abhay Kumar Upadhyaya.

Today’s operation was the first conducted by Corruption Linked Efforts for Affirmative Action (CLEAN), which was set up in November to intensify the campaign against corruption among government officials.

The bureau recently arrested several senior officers and engineers of the state departments. One of those held was Madhepura district magistrate Hemchandra Jha, who was found in possession of bribe money worth Rs 3 lakh.

“Altogether 60 officials have been nabbed for corruption in the past 10 months,” said additional director-general (vigilance) Neelmani.

Mishra, an IPS officer of the 1969 batch, had been appointed state police chief by the Rabri Devi government and he occupied the post from November 2004 to May 2005.

“The sleuths recovered Rs 2.34 lakh in cash besides jewellery from his (Mishra’s) Ved Nagar residence here,” said the CLEAN chief. The raid at his son’s home at Hazaribagh yielded investment papers worth Rs 6.67 lakh.

The sleuths sealed his in-laws’ house at Gaya as there were no occupants. “The Gaya house will be raided later,” Upadhyaya said.

The vigilance sleuths found that Mishra had a three-storeyed building and a flat in Patna and another property in Bhopal in his name. They seized details of five bank accounts and an equal number of lockers.

Speaking on the raids, Mishra said: “I am cooperating with CLEAN, which is doing its duty. I have nothing more to say at this stage.” Upadhyaya said the raids were still “inconclusive”.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar said CLEAN was constituted to “weed out corruption” from high places.

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