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Raid on ex-engineer’s home

Sleuths of special vigilance unit on Friday conducted raids on the residential premises of a retired chief engineer, Ram Vilas Choudhary, in Patna and unearthed disproportionate assets worth over Rs 1.8 crore, carrying forward the drive against corruption.

Acting on a tip-off, the officials of the special vigilance unit, an anti-corruption wing of the state government, searched Choudhary’s house at Bahadurpur Housing Colony in the city. The operation yielded Rs 1.63 lakh and documents related to purchase of flats in Bangalore and Noida. Documents related to investments worth Rs 5.35 lakh in insurance policies and bank deposits of Rs 59 lakh were also recovered during the raid.

Choudhary, hailing from Begusarai district, owns a four-storeyed building at Bahadurpur valued at Rs 56 lakh. The chief engineer of the water resources department, who retired on August 31 last year, also has a 3,600sqft bungalow at Bahadurpur Housing Colony. It was purchased for a meagre Rs 45,134 about two decades ago.

Two sports utility vehicles (SUVs) were also in his possession.

The inspector-general (IG) of the special vigilance unit, Praveen Vashishtha, said the chief engineer (retired) owned immovable property worth Rs 96 lakh and movable property worth Rs 83.94 lakh. He said Choudhary’s flats in Greater Noida were booked in the names of Choudhary’s wife, Manju, and son, Gaurav Swaroop. Documents revealed that Rs 12.6 lakh was paid to the developer at the time of booking of the flats, he added.

Besides, he purchased a three-bedroom flat in Bangalore for Rs 25.37 lakh. “The value of the assets has been estimated on the basis of the registered deeds and not at the existing marketing rate,” the IG said.

He said the bank lockers allotted to the couple would be verified later. Choudhary was present in his bungalow at the time of the search, he added.

The IG said: “This is the second operation of the special vigilance unit against the tainted government employees in the past two months,” he added.

Sources said several bureaucrats, both serving and retired, were on the radar of the special vigilance unit, which functions under the vigilance bureau. The unit was created in 2006 to nail the tainted officials.

“The operation against the tainted officials would gain momentum in the days to come,” an officer in the rank of superintendent of police told The Telegraph.