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Thursday, April 09, 2020

Bihar politicians pile up security dues, Rs 15 crore loss to exchequer

As per a 2005 Patna High Court order and subsequent order from Bihar home department in the same year, only ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, judicial services officers, commissioners, secretaries and heads of government departments can be given bodyguards and others would have to pay for it.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Published: March 26, 2020 12:23:06 pm
Patna High Court, Bihar government dues, Patna High Court on Bihar government dues, India news, Indian Express The 82-page RTI reply, a copy of which is available with The Indian Express, gives elaborate details of 27 of 38 Bihar districts.

In the last 10 years, the Bihar government has provided security to over 125 politicians and their kin, mostly from the ruling JD (U), besides several contractors, builders and others at no cost, and thereby incurring a cumulative loss of Rs 15 crore to the state exchequer.

Some of the beneficiaries of the state government largesse include Dr Shrikant Pandey, father of poll strategist Prashant Kishor, Vishal Singh, son of former JD (U) MP Ajit Singh, former JD (U) MLC Vishwamohan Kumar, former Janta Dal MP Surya Narayan Yadav, Congress MLA Vijay Kumar Gupta, former RJD MP Kanti Singh, and former RJD leader Anwarul Haque.

At present, none of these people are availing government security.

As per a 2005 Patna High Court order and subsequent order from Bihar home department in the same year, only ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, judicial services officers, commissioners, secretaries and heads of government departments can be given bodyguards and others would have to pay for it.

The high court order had said: “The committee should consider as aspect of the matter that in case any person having sufficient means applies for the security should be provided to him on payment of cost made by him for the simple reason that police personnel is deputed on security guard at the risk of life and property of the other citizens”.

The office of principal accountant general (audit), Patna, under Indian Audit and Accounts Department, in a reply to a query by leading RTI activist Shiv Prakash Rai, said that state police between 2010-11 and 2019-20 had to recover a cumulative sum of Rs 15 Crore, which was not paid by about 125 people in lieu of security provided to them by the state government police.

RTI activist Shiv Prakash Rai said: “The Patna High Court’s 2005 order has mentioned if money is not paid to government in lieu of providing security, those responsible for providing security (DMs and SPs) have to pay to the state exchequer”. He added state security committee had been formed a year ago in place of district security committee.

The 82-page RTI reply, a copy of which is available with The Indian Express, gives elaborate details of 27 of 38 Bihar districts. Arwal tops with the maximum recoverable amount of Rs 354.13 lakh, followed by Rs 101.38 lakh by Araria, Rs 87.16 lakh by Patna, Rs 77.01 lakh by Jehanabad, Rs 76.90 lakh by Vaishali, Rs 73.53 lakh by Gaya and Rs 67.76 lakh by Rohtas police in lieu of providing security.

Bihar Additional Chief Secretary, home, Amir Subhani said the police spokesperson was the competent person to answer questions on the matter. Bihar Police spokesperson and additional director general of police (headquarters) Jitendra Kumar told The Indian Express: “I have no information on this”. When told about the HC order and subsequent government order on providing security, he said: “I cannot say anything till I see files)”.

The RTI reply shows in Munger district, JD (U) secretary Rajiv Choudhary was provided security for free in 2011. Former Union minister Kanti Singh, who got security between 20 November 2005 to 31 January 2016, and Anwarul Haq, who got security between 18 November 2015 and 31 January 2016, had to pay a rate of Rs 873 per day.

In 2013, Supaual police had provided security to former Raghopur MLA Lakhan Thakur, who had to pay Rs 80,398 for security. JD (U) Triveniganj MLA Vishwamohan Kumar owed Rs 82,621 to the government and former Nirmali MLA Vijay Kumar Gupta, former MLA owed Rs 56,019 to the government for security in 2013. Former MP Suryanarayan Yadav had to pay Rs 28,973. Former MLA Dinbandhu Yadav had to pay Rs 17,709.

Kishanganj Police provided security to Saiyad Mohammed Ashraf, JD (U) executive committee member between 26 November 2015 and 31 March 2016, who owed the government Rs 1,38,750. A retired judge Saiyad Mehfooz Alam, who got security between 20 July 2012 to 31 March 2016, owed Rs 14,97,390.

Gaya district administration provided security to 14 people between 2014 and 2016 without recovering Rs 73 lakh from them. These people include former MLC, Anuj Kumar (13 months 14 days, recoverable amount: Rs 4,07,932), Gaya JD (U) president Abhay Kushwaha (16 months 14 days, recoverable amount: Rs 5,08,884), former Fatehpur MLA Ajay Paswan (25 months 22 days, recoverable amount: Rs 7,97,260), Raju Barnwal, Gaya JD (U) president (22 months and 13 days, recoverable amount: Rs 6,93,278).

Rohtas police provided security to Vishal Singh, son of former JD (U) MP Ajit Singh in 2008 ( Rs 35,78,878), JD (U) state secretary in 2014 who owed Rs 8,35,868, MLC Hulas Kumar Pandey’s brother Santosh Kumar Pandey in 2014. He had to pay Rs 4,20,544. Buxar district administration had provided a security guard to Dr Shrikant Pandey between 21 December 2015 and 30 June 2017 but did not pay Rs 5,99,400 in lieu of security.

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