The Telegraph
Monday , August 21 , 2017

Fodder scam cogs in hiding

Ranchi, Aug. 20: The CBI headquarters has issued a fresh directive to the animal husbandry unit of the Ranchi CBI to trace a few fodder scam accused absconding for years who may be living under assumed identities.

The reminder, however, has put the Ranchi unit in a quandary as the absconders, fodder and cattle medicine suppliers who allegedly prepared inflated vouchers for the animal husbandry unit in connivance with officials and politicians, are proving elusive.

Among the absconders is Ranjay Kumar Sinha, then an MPhil student of JNU, who went off the radar after 1997 when the CBI interrogated him. Son of convicted suppliers Surendra Nath Sinha and Shakuntala Sinha, political science student Ranjay had claimed he knew nothing.

Fodder suppliers Phul Singh, Ajit Kumar and Chinta Verma are absconding for five years. CBI is not sure if one Umashankar Pandey, named in an FIR, ever existed.

"The CBI has announced or is in the process of announcing Rs 50,000 as cash prize on the heads of all absconders. They seem to be living under fake identities," said a CBI officer.

Special CBI court of S.S. Prasad two weeks ago had summonsed the absconding Phul Singh of Banka in Bihar in the RC 68A/96 case to record his statement. Singh is accused in five other cases RC21A/96, RC 22A/96, RC 33A/96 and RC 34A/96.

Nothing has been heard about Singh from 2014. His Banka home is locked, said CBI. Unconfirmed reports suggest he moved to Mumbai.

The CBI has drawn a blank on Bihar's Aurangabad boy and JNU political science stud ent Ranjay, booked in RC 41A/96, RC 66A/96 and RC 19A/96, and traceless for two decades now.

Bedridden father Surendra Nath stays in Patna, mother Shakuntala is dead.

Probe revealed huge amounts were transferred in Ranjay's bank account between 1990 and 1996 but he claimed he knew nothing about his parents' business affairs.

"When we confronted him with documents he said he realised his father misused him. He had radical Left orientation and he was so upset that he even told us that he would gun down his father for the scam. He may be innocent but bank documents reflected his involvement. We mulled turning him an approver. But after that interrogation he disappeared," said a CBI officer who had questioned him then.

Unconfirmed reports suggested Ranjay is teaching at North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong.

Patna-based supplier couple Ajit and Chinta Verma are absconding from 2012 when they were convicted by the court in RC 55/96 case. They might have moved to Delhi to live under an assumed identity. CBI lawyer B.M.P. Singh said the court split the case of the absconding accused. "Trial can't be stopped for an absconder. So, the court split their case and continued hearings. When the absconders will be arrested they will be tried separately," he said.

CBI ASP A.K. Jha said absconders were few. "Our conviction rate is 92.7 per cent."

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