With the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stepping up the heat against two IAS officers one each from Bihar and Jharkhand the last one week has been more than just eventful for the elite civil service in these two states. Though the two cases are unrelated, the crackdown from the two central agencies has sent a shiver down the spines of babus who dont have a clean slate in their careers.
The central agencies’ first swoop started on Tuesday, when ED sleuths attached movable and immovable assets belonging to IAS officer Pradeep Kumar. The 1991 batch IAS officer, posted as the commissioner of Santhal Pargana division in Jharkhand, had moved out of the Bihar cadre after states bifurcation in November 2000.
The attached immovable assets of Pradeep Kumar include one flat each in Ranchi and Calcutta, two houses in Udaipur in Rajasthan, and a plot of land in Karnataka. Though the book value of all the assets is pegged at around Rs 1.8 crore, their market value, especially of various properties, is believed to be over Rs 10 crore.
Accused of accumulating assets disproportionate to his income, the Jharkhand cadre IAS officer has already been charge-sheeted by the CBI in the National Rural Health Mission scam, which involved purchase of mobile clinics using dubious links. The chargesheet pertains to his tenure as Jharkhand health secretary in the mid-2000s.
The ED is also probing Kumar for alleged money-laundering.
The second elite service babu who faced the heat this week was Bihar Cadre IAS officer Kanwal Tanuj.
Having earlier registered a case against him in connection with alleged irregularities in awarding compensation against land acquisition for a power plant in Bihar, the CBI on Friday raided Tanuj’s official residence. The 2005 batch IAS officer is currently posted as a District Magistrate in Bihars Aurangabad district.
Incidentally, the CBI had registered a case against Tanuj on February 20, the day when the ED had attached Pradeep Kumar’s properties.
Tanuj has been accused of having recommended a payment of Rs 2.07 crore as compensation to a fake beneficiary in lieu of land given to the power plant. Once the money was transferred to the fake beneficiarys account, Tanuj allegedly withdrew the amount in connivance with C Shiv Kumar, CEO of Bhartiya Rail Bijlee Company Ltd (BRBCL), a subsidiary of NTPC BRBCL. The power plant is being built in Nabinagar, some 140 km south of Patna.
The district magistrate has been alleged to have illegally acquired about 7 acres of land from one Gopal Prasad Singh, who is dead but was shown as the landowner in the government records. The BRBCL paid Rs 2.07 crore as compensation in lieu of the acquisition of land in May last year. The money was transferred to Singh’s account and was subsequently withdrawn.
BOOKED FOR CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY, CHEATING
Both Tanuj and Shiv Kumar have been booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, use of forged documents and criminal misconduct by public servants. According to the eight- page CBI FIR, the Nabinagar circle officer had, as directed by Tanuj, informed the BRBCL that 6.545 acres had been earmarked/acquired for the project. The circle officer directed the BRBCL to purchase the land from the owner Singh and added that another .905 acres of government land was being transferred to the BRBCL for the NTPC plant.
The FIR also mentions that when BRBCL officers visited the site on April 11-12 last year for possession of the land, the “claimant Gopal Prasad Singh ” allegedly could not identify his own land. The FIR further alleges that in spite of this, DM Tanuj advised BRBCL to pay compensation to Singh within 48 hours. C Shiv Kumar, CEO BRBCL Nabinagar, subsequently made the payment of Rs 2,07,84,583 to Singh.
Last year too, another Bihar Cadre IAS officer Sudhir Kumar was arrested in February 2017 after a special Investigation Team probing paper leak scam picked him for allegedly leaking the question paper and answer keys to help his relatives in the clerical intermediate grade examination.