Flood scam glare on Sadhu

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By RAMASHANKAR & UMA KANT PRASAD VARMA
  • Published 30.03.11
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Patna, March 29: Anirudh Prasad alias Sadhu Yadav, former MP and brother-in-law of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, is set for more trouble after charges were framed against him and 19 others in the court of a special vigilance judge in a multi-crore flood relief scam.

Charges were framed in the court of Ajit Kumar Sinha against Sadhu, alleged kingpin of the scam Santosh Jha, his alleged wife Nidhi Jha, his father Bhagwan Jha, manager of IDBI Bank Sanjay Jha, managing director of Bihar State Small Industries Corporation Mukteshwar Prasad, Patna additional district magistrate Basudev Das, deputy collector Devendra Kumar and computer programmer in the office of Patna district magistrate Abhitabh Arun and others.

The court has fixed April 13 as the next date of hearing.

The scam was detected during President’s rule in Bihar in 2005 and was subsequently handed over to the state vigilance investigation bureau, which lodged a formal case (No. 08/2005) on May 28, 2005.

During investigation, the bureau had found financial irregularities worth Rs 17.80 crore. Subsequently 29 persons, including Gautam Goswami, the former Patna district magistrate, were chargesheeted by the bureau. The former DM had surrendered in the court after being in hibernation for almost two months.

Investigation carried out by the vigilance bureau revealed that the government had sanctioned Rs 13.33 crore for relief material to be distributed among flood victims of north Bihar in 2004. The accused persons, however, in connivance with district officials, withdrew over Rs 25 crore by diverting the fund.

Relief materials for the flood victims were supplied by a fictitious firm Baba Satya Sai Enterprises instead of the Bihar State Small Industries. Santosh Jha, who headed Baba Satya Sai Enterprises, managed to get the contract awarded to his firm illegally for the supply of relief materials.

The funds were allegedly siphoned off between June 2004 and May 2005, an investigating officer said. Surprisingly, the money was provided to the firm within 15 days the state government granted the fund. Sadhu had allegedly purchased a luxury car from Santosh Jha and hobnobbed with administrative officials.

Charges against Goswami could not be framed because of his death. The court also cancelled the bail of Brahmachari Upendra Mitra, another accused in the case, who failed to appear before the court today.