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Graft raids unearth Rs 2.38cr assets

Patna, Jan. 17: The economic offences unit today unearthed disproportionate assets worth Rs 2.38 crore of a junior engineer of the water resources department, acting promptly on chief minister Nitish Kumar’s directive to go hammer and tongs against corruption.

The sleuths of the economic offences unit (EOU), the anti-corruption cell of police, carried out simultaneous searches in the office and the residential premises of the junior engineer, Ram Raj Singh, in Patna and Buxar districts. The operation began early morning and continued till 5 in the evening.

Additional director-general (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar said the searches were conducted in Singh’s two flats at Ram Dayal Enclave near Saguna Mor in Danapur and his office at Karbigahiya in Patna. The junior engineer’s ancestral house at Master Toli village in Buxar district was also searched.

The officer said a disproportionate assets case was registered yesterday against the junior engineer with the EOU’s police station here. Searches were carried out today after obtaining warrants from the special vigilance court.

Kumar said the documents seized during the operation suggested that the junior engineer owned movable assets worth Rs 1.46 crore and immovable assets worth Rs 92.26 lakh. Jewellery valued at Rs 3.5 lakh and Rs 50,000 were also recovered from his two flats at Saguna Mor, on the outskirts of the city.

The documents showed that the junior engineer had made huge investments in the real estate. “The value of the assets has been estimated on the basis of the registered deeds and not at the existing market rate,” Kumar said, adding that the process of scrutiny of documents was still on.

“Singh had purchased several plots of lands at Maner and Saidpur in Patna and his ancestral village in Buxar district,” an officer said.

Sources said two licensed firearms — a revolver and a rifle — were also seized from the Saguna-based flats of the junior engineer.

The EOU conducted the search operations within two days of Nitish Kumar instructing the senior officers to expedite the departmental proceedings against public servants facing graft charges. He issued the directive while reviewing the status of cases of corruption on January 15. “Those involved in corrupt practices won’t be spared,” he had told the officials.

The chief minister directed the officers to dispose of all the pending cases within two months. He had also talked about empowering district magistrates of taking immediate disciplinary action, including dismissal from service, against the employees indulging in corrupt practices.

Taking note of the chief minister’s directive, the vigilance investigation bureau has also stepped up its drive against corruption and arrested an inspector of industries Navin Kumar Singh from Khagaria on graft charges. He was caught while taking a bribe of Rs 4,500 from one Praveen Kumar Singh, a resident of Maheshkuth, for issuing him licence for a lathe workshop.

A head clerk of the social welfare department, Dhirendra Kumar Singh, was arrested yesterday from Bettiah in West Champaran district for allegedly demanding Rs 4,000 for clearing a voucher.


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