Patna, Sept. 7: The enforcement directorate is all set to open a zonal office in the state capital following a spurt in economic offences in Bihar and Jharkhand.
At present, a sub-zonal office is functional in Patna to deal with money laundering and foreign exchange rule violation cases. The understaffed sub-zonal office is under tremendous pressure to complete investigation into several cases of money laundering, including a few related to former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda.
Sources said the process of setting up a zonal office in Patna has been set in motion. “We are looking for a suitable building. A sub-zonal office will be opened in Jharkhand to deal with the cases of economic offences in that state,” a senior enforcement directorate (ED) officer said.
While the ED’s Patna zonal office would look after Bihar and Jharkhand, the Lucknow office would take care of UP.
He said the zonal office in Patna could be operational from either this December or January next year. The Jharkhand sub-zonal office, headed by a deputy director-rank officer, would start functioning from early next year. Both the proposals had been approved by the ED headquarters in New Delhi, he said.
The officer said the Patna sub-zonal office was functioning under the zonal office at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. Areas under Bihar, Jharkhand and UP come under its jurisdiction at present, he said.
Sources in the state police headquarters said the ED had requested the Bihar director-general of police to depute at least five police officers at the ED office to take up the cases of economic offences in the state. “We are also plagued with manpower shortage,” the officer said.
The Patna sub-zonal office of the ED, which has 12 employees on rolls, functions from a four-room building on Frazer Road. “If the zonal office becomes functional, a joint director-rank officer will be posted to monitor the investigation,” the officer said. At present, deputy director-rank officers monitor the cases at the Patna sub-zonal office.
Sources said the economic offences unit of the state government recently approached the ED for taking over the probe of at least half a dozen cases related to accumulation of huge wealth by criminals.