| Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi. Telegraph picture |
Patna, May 28: A vigilance court at Muzaffarpur exonerated deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of the charge of financial irregularities in the purchase of medicines during the 2007-08 floods in north Bihar but tightened the noose around six district-level animal husbandry department officers.
The court headed by special vigilance judge Arun Kumar Singh ordered the vigilance investigation bureau to lodge an FIR at its police station in Patna against the six officers, including then district animal husbandry officer of Muzaffarpur Dr Prabodh Kumar Singh, for their involvement in the medicine scam worth Rs 5 crore. The superintendent of police (vigilance bureau) has been assigned to probe the irregularities and submit a detailed report to the court.
“We are yet to receive the copy of the court order,” said a senior vigilance bureau officer in Patna.
A Muzaffarpur-based advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha said besides Modi, three officers of the animal husbandry department, including Brahmachari Chandra Shekhar Prasad, then director, and Anil Kumar, then principal secretary of the department, were also absolved of the charge for lack of evidence. Modi was then holding the animal husbandry portfolio.
The representatives of the medicine manufacturing company also got reprieve from the court.
Hearing a petition filed by Ojha, the special vigilance judge observed: “After considering the inquiry report submitted by the vigilance investigation bureau, Patna, as well as the objection petition and written notes of the argument filed on behalf of the complainant, I have come to the conclusion that nobody can be made accused merely on the ground that they had not taken action on the complainant’s request.”
Ojha, in his petition, had alleged that Modi, who was then holding the animal husbandry portfolio, did not take notice of the alleged plundering of public money when the matter was brought to his notice.
The court said the role of the animal husbandry department officers of Muzaffarpur should be thoroughly probed as the medicines to be distributed at a special medical relief camp were purchased after a month.
The officers whose role has come under the scanner of the vigilance bureau are Dr Gorakh Prasad Yadav, Dr Sharad Kumar Jha, Dr Dilip Kumar Jha, Dr Prem Kumar Jha, Dr Prabodh Kumar Singh and Dr Prem Kumar (Vaishali).
The special camps were organised in Sheohar, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Darbhanga, Madhubani, and East and West Champaran districts from January 16-31, 2008. The records revealed that the medicines were purchased in February, almost a month after the camps, the petition alleged.
Earlier, the court had sought a report from the investigation bureau, which prima facie found the allegation of gross financial irregularities in the purchase of the medicines meant for the flood relief victims of north Bihar true.