The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CBI court summons minister

Ranchi, April 28: HRD minister Bandhu Tirkey is planning to propitiate stars.

“I always believed in astrology but did not use stones and gems so far. But now I will use gems to ward off bad times,” said the minister a day after he had a providential escape in a chopper crash.

He has been at the receiving end of criticism for some time for cosying up to Madhu Koda, for planning to supply a mango-pulp-based drink to primary school students and for nominating his loyalists to academic councils. Then followed the crash-landing.

But Tirkey’s troubles are far from over.

He has now been summoned by the CBI (special) court trying cases related to the fodder scam. The summon follows the central agency listing him as a prosecution witness in the case.

One of the suppliers, it appears, had floated a firm and opened a bank account in his mother’s name. He forged her signature and operated the account.

Tirkey, who had served Oriental Bank of Commerce before joining politics, was the bank manager at the time and the court has summoned him to verify the signature of the account-holder.

The CBI believes that fake accounts cannot be opened or operated without the connivance or complicity of the bank manager. Therefore, once Tirkey verifies that the signatures on the documents do not belong to the account-holder, chances are that the agency will move to list him as one of the accused.

The agency has requested Speaker Alamgir Alam to ensure the presence of the HRD minister in the court.

The investigating officer had earlier summoned Tirkey to the CBI office to verify the signature but he had given a vague answer. It is not clear what the agency plans to do if the minister claims amnesia or refuses to verify the signature, citing the lapse of time. And it remains to be seen if the gems come to his rescue.

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