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Swindle slur on officials

Bhagalpur, Dec. 16: A scam involving embezzlement of funds for state-sponsored welfare schemes by a top official of Munger district has surfaced.

This comes close on the heels of the Nitish-led government’s ineffectiveness in attempts at gaining mass confidence in Naxalite-affected areas of this district through these schemes.

A supervision report by the additional superintendent of police (ASP), Jamalpur, has indicated large-scale embezzlement of government funds meant for development projects in four panchayats of the Naxalite-affected Dharhara block of Munger district and the erstwhile deputy development commissioner of Munger as the prime suspect behind it.

Sources said the state government for the first time has allotted huge funds for the 13 Naxalite-affected panchyats in Munger in the financial year, 2007-08. The aim was to gain people’s confidence living in hamlets falling under the panchayats.

But the story of Mahagama, Matadehi, Amari and Itawa panchyats falling under Dharhara block in Munger was something different as a few corrupt officials had managed to play a game to pocket the welfare funds.

Following the complaint earlier lodged by Sailesh Kumar, the JD (U) MLA from Jamalpur Assembly segment (Dharhara lying under Jamalpur segment), the rural development department led a probe into the alleged scam. Joint director of the rural development department Ashok Kumar Sinha exposed the scam.

The then DDC, Munger, Arbind Kumar whose name was mentioned in the ASP’s supervision report, earlier instigated the then block development officer (BDO), Dharhara, Ram Vilash Ram to take appropriate action against the accused. Acting on the BDO’s complaint, Dharhara police lodged an FIR against eight persons, including the programme officer, mukhiya (village head), panchayat sevak and contractors on July 7, 2010.

On November 28 this year, the supervision report by Jamalpur ASP Sivdeep Landey made the then Munger DDC a co-accused in the scam. “I have submitted the report to the Munger SP and am waiting for his order to arrest the culprits,” Landey told reporters at Munger. He, however, denied giving details about his report.

SP, Munger Sunil Naik was not available for his comment for the next course of action in the awake of the supervision report. But sources in his office said that police was waiting for the instruction from the higher officer concerned to initiate legal actions against the accused persons involved in the scam. DGP, Neelmani was asked by reporters here last evening about the incident but he was quite unfazed and unaware of it.

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