|Mriganka Mouli Sarkar.
Siliguri, Dec. 4: Suspended executive engineer of Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority, Mriganka Mouli Sarkar, who had been arrested in connection with funds misuse case, got bail today and is likely to walk out of jail this evening or tomorrow morning.
Sarkar has been accused of submitting false project reports on the basis of which, funds had been sanctioned.
Saptarshi Pal, former assistant engineer (electrical) of the SJDA, is the only one among the 11 arrested persons in connection with the funds misuse case, who is still in jail.
“My client (Mriganka) was arrested on June 5 and had eight cases against him. We had appealed for bail in all cases and we secured bail in seven. Today, we made a bail petition regarding the de-silting of Jorapani river case. The additional district and sessions’ first court heard the petition and granted him bail against a surety of Rs 10,000,” said Tanay Chakraborty, Mriganka’s lawyer.
Chakraborty said three cases were regarding three electric crematoriums, two related to two sewerage treatment plants, one for de-silting of Jorapani river and two about anomalies in the SJDA e-tendering process.
On May 16, SJDA CEO Sharad Dwivedi had lodged a complaint with Pradhannagar police stating: “Mriganka Mouli Sarkar certified the supply, delivery, installation, testing and commission of the supplied items for the electric crematorium at Mainaguri in the measurement book (main detailed record).”
Similar allegations were levelled against Mriganka for certifying reports for the crematoriums at Bagdogra and Malbazar.
“Praveen Kumar and Saptarshi Pal, who were supposed to make field visits, had submitted reports (to Mriganka) saying items needed for the projects were available at the site,” said a source. Later, it was found that the material was not available.
Mriganka was charged with forgery, cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servant and falsification of accounts under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act in eight cases.
Arresting SJDA officials in the funds misuse case started on May 24 and Saptarshi was picked up on May 31. “There are eight cases against Saptarshi. He is yet to get bail in one case,” a court source said.
Jawed Shamim, commissioner of Siliguri metropolitan police, said: “Investigations in all cases would continue.”
Today, north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb said many of the arrested persons were close to the CPM. “Till 2011, before the new government came, one person was in the chairman’s post at the SJDA. He managed the affairs for 20 years, since its formation in 1991,” Deb said hinting at CPM leader Asok Bhattacharya. “During his tenure, recruitment of engineers like Mriganka Mouli Sarkar and Saptarshi Pal was made.”
Deb, the SJDA chairman since March this year, also referred to a representative of New India Construction Company, who is out on bail. “He was a prominent SFI leader and a CPM worker,” Deb said. The firm had got a sub-contract from Eureka Trade Bureau to build a sewerage plant in Mahananda. “The chief minister had ordered investigation. There has been zero interference on the part of the state government and our party,” he said.
Reacting to the charge, Bhattacharya said: “During my tenure, there were regular audits and no anomalies were found.”