| The arrested middlemen in Aurangabad on Monday. Picture by Sanjay Choudhary |
Middlemen had a hard time across the state on Monday.
Police have launched a special drive against middlemen found to be moving around government offices to lure gullible customers. At least 22 people were arrested and Rs 4.60 lakh in cash seized during the operation across the state on Monday.
Separate teams headed by superintendents of police carried out raids in Aurangabad, Purnea, West Champaran, Rohtas and Sheikhpura districts to check corrupt practices prevalent at respective district transport offices. At some places, respective district magistrates also accompanied the raiding teams.
In Aurangabad, the police conducted raid at a makeshift office on the district collectorate premises and picked up five middlemen involved in driving licence racket. The team led by superintendent of police Upendra Kumar Sharma seized cash a little over Rs 3 lakh and 40 driving licences besides forms of tax token and other related documents. Two employees of the district transport office Nandu Ram and Nagendra Kumar Singh were also taken into custody for interrogation.
Sources said Ram was posted as head clerk while Singh was deputed as computer operator in the office of the district transport officer. All the five middlemen Sanjay Giri, Kishore Kumar, Sanjay Kumar, Lallu Giri and Amresh Narayan Singh were produced before the court, which remanded them in judicial custody for two weeks.
SP Sharma said the role of other employees involved in the racket was being verified.
A report from Ara said all the 15 people arrested from the district transport office premises were produced before the special vigilance court in Patna. The court headed by special vigilance judge Choudhary Vijendra Kumar Rai forwarded all of them to Beur Central Jail in judicial custody.
Similar searches were conducted in Bettiah, the district headquarters of West Champaran, Rohtas, Purnea and Sheikhpura districts. A senior officer at the police headquarters said the operation was being monitored by director-general of police Abhayanand.
The sources that the name of Bhojpur district transport officer Pradip Kumar Gupta and motor vehicles inspector Parth Sarthy also figured in the FIR lodged with the Nawada police station in Bhojpur district. The two officers have reportedly gone underground after the FIR was lodged. During interrogation, the arrested middlemen revealed that they used to give Rs 200 each to the DTO concerned for issuing driving licence to the applicants. Similarly, Rs 300 each was paid to the motor vehicle inspectors concerned.
Abhayanand said the operation against the middlemen thriving in the offices would continue. Its an organised crime and stringent action would be initiated against the public servants for their involvement in the racket, he said.