Patna, Sept. 24: The conmen of Nalanda have earned a bad name for the district, courtesy their acumen in producing fraudulent doctors, engineers and bank probationary officers for the country.
They are not far behind the farmers of Nalanda, such as Sumant Kumar and Rakesh Kumar, who have set records in paddy and potato production respectively and have earned respect for their villages. The home district of chief minister Nitish Kumar has clearly earned a good and a bad name for itself.
The latest to fall from the conmen’s closet is the racket of dummy candidates in bank probationary exams. For Rs 18 lakh, one could get the job of a probationary officer, while Rs 10 lakh could make one a bank clerk.
On Monday, the name of Sanjiv Kumar Verma surfaced after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) busted a racket involved in the recruitment of probationary officers in nationalised banks. Verma, a native of Telhara village under the jurisdiction of Ekangarsarai police station, is absconding. His wife Alisha Verma and two associates were arrested.
Racketeers are nothing new for the district, though.
The CBI arrested Ranjit Singh alias Ranjit Don, a native of Khaddi Lodhipur village in Hilsa block, from Delhi in 2003 for allegedly leaking question papers of Common Admission Test (CAT). Placing dummy candidates and leaking question papers, he allegedly facilitated wards of doctors, bureaucrats and police officers in getting admission to the country’s premier institutes.
Before falling in the CBI net, he developed a nationwide network while operating from Patna. The case against Ranjit, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2005 Lok Sabha elections from Nalanda, is pending in the special CBI court in Patna.
Earlier this year, the economic offences unit of Bihar police arrested 77 people for helping job aspirants at an examination centre through bluetooth devices at Punpun in Patna rural. Majority of them were from Nalanda.
One of the features of the Nalanda racketeers is when one group is caught and sent to jail, another raises its head to explore new avenues in the education or job market and makes a fortune before the law catches up with them.
In the case of 30-year-old Sanjiv Kumar Verma, the CBI during investigation came to know that the gang provided jobs to at least over 100 undeserving candidates — majority of whom belonged to Nalanda and Patna districts — in different banks.
An investigating officer, however, said Verma’s fellow villagers regarded him as a hero rather than a villain. “We owe a lot to Sanjiv. He gave employment to hundreds of youths of Patna and Nalanda districts,” the officer quoted a resident as saying.