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SC relief for ex-IAS
- Criminal case quashed

The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed criminal proceedings against former Jharkhand chief secretary A.K. Singh in a two-decade-old corruption and disproportionate assets case.

Giving relief to the former IAS officer, the single-judge bench of Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyay observed that the Bihar government had ordered a vigilance inquiry against Singh thrice in the past, but failed to prove the charges against him. Also, it stated that it was beyond the Bihar government’s jurisdiction to prosecute an official of a different state cadre.

The case dates back to 1996 when RJD MLA Ramlal Singh had lodged a complaint against then managing director of Bihar State Financial Corporation (BSFC) Singh, alleging that he had received a bribe of Rs 52,000 in the names of three NGOs from entrepreneurs in lieu of loans provided to them.

The Bihar government, headed by then chief minister Lalu Prasad, asked the vigilance bureau to start a preliminary inquiry into allegations of corruption and disproportionate assets against Singh the same year. It was found that a few entrepreneurs had given money to NGOs Green Earth India, Samvedna and Brindaban, but it could not be established whether Singh benefited from the deals.

Bihar ordered another vigilance probe against Singh in 1997, but the bureau yet again failed to substantiate the charges. When the bureau started a probe for the third time in 1998, Singh approached Patna High Court, alleging that the government was harassing him for not obeying the political masters. The high court directed the bureau to complete the probe within eight months. But even then, it could not prove the charges.

When Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in 2000, Singh shifted to the new state. In 2002, the Bihar vigilance bureau filed an FIR against him and a vigilance court sent him to 70 days’ judicial custody. Singh again moved Patna High Court, which dismissed the case in 2007. The Bihar government then moved the apex court. But the apex court upheld Patna HC’s directive.

“The Bihar government was harassing me because I had refused to bend before Lalu Prasad, who wanted me to grant an out-of-turn favour to a hotelier,” said Singh.


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