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EOU searches official’s house

Patna, May 30: The state police’s economic offences unit (EOU) on Friday conducted searches at the residential premises of Ajay Kumar Jha, an additional commissioner of the welfare department.

Jha is accused of intimidating contractors and dealers when he was additional collector in Kishanganj district in 2013. He was in-charge of the supply department then. The EOU lodged a case against him under section 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion) of IPC and section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Authoritative sources said the probe was referred to the EOU after district officials concerned probed the charges and prima facie found them to be true. The district magistrate had sought a detailed probe. Jha was transferred from Kishanganj and made additional commissioner of the disabled directorate, under the welfare department.

A senior EOU official said: “This is a routine affair. No incriminating documents were seized from Jha’s flat in Patna.” Sources said Jha was present at his flat in Kalindi Girja Apartment near New Punaichak in Patna at the time of the search. “He is cooperating with the investigating team,” the officer, who was part of the raiding team, said.

Sources said video clips of Jha’s statement asking sub-ordinates in the district supply department to collect money from dealers and contractors was provided to the then district magistrate, who, in, turn, assigned the task to the sub-divisional officer.

During the probe, the allegations against Jha were found to be true. “We are in the process of gathering evidence against the government official,” a probe officer said.

The police headquarters has submitted a proposal to the state government requesting legal opinion about the formation of a new law to enable state police to probe cases of financial offences on the pattern of the enforcement directorate. The state police have no power to investigate cases of financial offences under the provisions of the Money Laundering Act. The move is fallout of the Centre’s indifferent attitude to the state government’s proposal to empower the state police to probe cases of economic offences upto Rs 5 crore.

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