Ranchi, Aug. 3: The state vigilance bureau today slapped FIRs against a motor vehicle inspector cum in-charge of Chouparan checkpoint Santosh Kumar Gupta, seven self-appointed collection agents and 60 others for robbing the state exchequer of crores of rupees in revenue annually.
All the accused are charged with criminal conspiracy to loot the state exchequer, dishonestly usurping state money for personal use and criminal breach of trust under Sections 120(B), 403, 406, 408 and 409 of IPC.
Other than Gupta, FIRs were lodged against Uma Shankar Prasad, Mantu Kumar Chaurasia, Satish Kumar Singh, Surender Prasad Mehta, Bablu alias Balwant Kumar Singh, Vitin Kumar and Jitendra Singh, all self-appointed collection agents and 50 others.
On July 30, a vigilance raid on the checkpoint in Hazaribagh district, the gateway to Bihar, had revealed that the post remained unmanned after 5pm daily, when movement of trucks was heaviest, allowing the collection agents to make a killing.
After questioning the following day in Ranchi, six of the agents had confessed that they collected money from thousands of trucks, which crossed the checkpoint between 5pm and 8am, when the in-charge reported for work.
ďIt is a loot perpetrated by officials acting in connivance with collection agents at Chouparan checkpoint, which thousands of vehicles cross daily. We a submitted a detailed report to the vigilance commissioner and after getting permission from the state government, FIRs were lodged,Ē IG (vigilance) M.V. Rao told The Telegraph.
The modus operandi of the agents was simple. Trucks, usually overloaded way beyond capacity and on their way to other states from Jharkhand, were stopped by the agents 2 to 3km before the checkpoint and made to pay. Even hotels along the route had jumped into the collection bandwagon, extracting money from passing trucks.
Deals were struck and once payments were made, the trucks were simply waved off. The agents shared the booty with the local police and officials manning the checkpoint.
Many collection agents even issued hand written slips to the truck drivers. The drivers simply handed over the slips to the checkpoint in-charge, and were allowed to pass.
The state vigilance bureau today submitted chargesheets against former Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC) chairman Dilip Prasad, former commission member Shanti Devi and ex-JPSC secretary Alice Usha Rani, before the vigilance court.
The bureau charged the officials with evaluating papers at the residences of their favourite candidates and flouting all norms including awarding high marks to favoured candidates in the first state civil services examination.