Cooperative dept role under CBI scanner – The Telegraph

Patna/Bhagalpur, Aug. 30: The role of officials of the state cooperative department has come under the CBI’s scanner in connection with the Srijan fund transfer scam.

The agency has stumbled on a letter purportedly written by a top official of the cooperative department giving a clean chit to then additional district magistrate Jayshree Thakur, who held charge of land acquisition officer of Banka, in the case related to deposit of money in the accounts of Srijan cooperative bank for women in 2013.

Thakur, whose service was terminated by the state government recently and who has been evading arrest, had deposited Rs 7.32 lakh in the Srijan cooperative bank for women in 2013.

The matter was probed by the economic offences unit (EOU) of the Bihar police. Two separate FIRs were lodged with the EOU police station in Patna against Thakur.

While the first FIR dealt with misuse of official position to give benefits to her near and dear, the other was related to disproportionate assets. In both the cases, the EOU carried out exhaustive investigations and submitted a chargesheet in the special vigilance court. The money deposited by Thakur was also seized by the agency.

However, the hands of the EOU officials were tied as the cooperative department, which is the competent authority to look into the affairs of the cooperative societies functioning under its jurisdiction, found no illegality in Thakur becoming a member of a cooperative despite being a public servant and depositing money in its account.

The EOU, sources said, had sought clarifications on three points from the cooperative department in Thakur’s case. The officials of the cooperative department were asked to explain whether it was legal for a public servant to become a member of any cooperative society, the maximum amount of money that can be deposited in its account and the amount that can be given to the member as loan.

On all the three points, the cooperative department said there was no illegality. A copy of the letter of the cooperative department has been provided to the CBI.

An FIR was lodged in Banka against Thakur and other officials after the Srijan scam surfaced. Banka district magistrate Kundan Kumar said the preliminary investigation showed a deep-rooted nexus between Thakur and Srijan office-bearers.

An account of the Banka district land acquisition officer was opened in Bhagalpur to commit irregularities. “Thakur was considered close to a politician, who was a minister in the first term of the NDA government in Bihar,” said an official.

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