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Patna Diary

All for such a small amount of anomaly

A junior government employee in the state secretariat went to his boss and pleaded for promotion. The employee said he was denied promotion because of a vigilance case in which there were irregularities in funds. His boss agreed to consider his case but wanted to know the volume of funds. The employee said that it was Rs 38,000. “You got caught in a fund of just Rs 38,000. Here in this secretariat, there are officials who have swindled lakhs but have not got caught,” his boss remarked. The employee became a joke among his colleagues as the man who got caught for “such a small amount”. “But he is the unlucky one. Another official, a few years ago, was dismissed from service for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 5,000 on the pretext of travelling allowance. His dismissal came even after he had returned the Rs 5,000 to the treasury,” recalled a senior official.

 

Ray of hope

Even as speculations are on as to who would succeed DGP Neelmani, there are reports of the current DGP being recommended for an extension. Though the process of giving extension has become difficult for IAS and IPS officials after their retirement age was pegged at 60, former chief secretary of Bihar A.K. Chaudhary was granted a six-month extension by the Centre at the request of chief minister Nitish Kumar. “We only have to see if Neelmani will be as lucky as Chaudhary,” remarked an official.

No litti chokha

Just check out the menu — Shrimp Cocktail, Zafrani Shorba, Arabian Grilled Fish, Italian Salad, English Vegetables, American Cake with Blueberry, Murg-e-Awadh — names certain to bring water to one’s mouth. The delicacies were prepared for Vice-President Hamid Ansari when he visited Patna for a day. The venue was 1 Aney Marg as the lunch was hosted by chief minister Nitish Kumar. “Nothing wrong with the menu except that it should have had some Bihari cuisine,” said a source. In the past, official feasts hosted for VVIPs, NRIs and even foreigners usually included one of the best known Bihari dishes - litti chokha. But the Vice-President’s menu had the dish missing and, as cynics point out, it was held at the residence of a person who has repeatedly declared that he wants to see one Bihari food on each thali in India.

 

Privacy ensured

At one time, 1 Aney Marg was one of the most important residential addresses in Bihar because it used to house a person considered very close to the chief minister. During Lalu's era, former Speaker late Radhanandan Jha used to live here. Jha, despite being a Congressman all his life, was nicknamed raj purohit of the Lalu-Rabri era. During the Nitish regime, it was the house of his principal secretary R.C. Prasad, who later quit service and became Rajya Sabha MP. After he vacated the house, the house was quietly turned into an extension of 1 Aney Marg and it is the office for three secretaries. “One of the main reasons for taking out the offices to the adjoining building is that the chief minister fiercely guards his privacy. When the offices were situated on the main campus, he found his official staff intermingling with friends and relatives. Officials have been told not to enter the main 1 Aney Marg unless they are called,” remarked a source.
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