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National Games scam: CBI conducts searches at house of Jharkhand ex-minister, others

Searches were conducted in Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Godda, and areas of Bihar and Delhi.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials arrive at the residence of Congress leader Bandhu Tirkey to conduct a raid in Jharkhand National Games scam, in Ranchi. (PTI)

The CBI on Thursday conducted searches at 16 locations, including the residence of former Jharkhand sports minister Bandhu Tirkey in the then BJP-led Arjun Munda government, over alleged irregularities in equipment purchases for 34th National Games 2011, held in Ranchi, and embezzlement of public money in construction of sports complex, officials said.

Besides Tirkey, now the working president of Congress’s state unit, CBI also searched the premises of noted lawyer and former MP R K Anand, who was the working chairman of the National Games Organising Committee, in Delhi.

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Searches were conducted in Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Godda, and areas of Bihar and Delhi.

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The CBI had registered a case after the High Court order in April against R K Anand and others, including P C Mishra, then director (sports), Jharkhand, and S M Hashmi, then organising secretary of the Games committee, as well as Madhukant Pathak, then treasurer, Jharkhand Olympic Association.

According to the CBI, large-scale irregularities were committed in purchase of sports items, equipment and allied services. It was also alleged that irregularities were conducted in construction of a mega sports complex.

On Thursday, CBI said that “certain incriminating documents” have been recovered during the searches and they are being scrutinised.

Allegations in the PIL, which is part of CBI’s FIR, state that the project cost was revised three times: from Rs 206 crore to eventually Rs 424 crore. The matter was also raised in Jharkhand Assembly after the Auditor General conducted an audit and pointed toward financial irregularities running into crores. The first petition was filed in 2012, after which the HC ordered in 2014 to expedite the Vigilance case registered in 2010.

PILs were filed again, as it was alleged that investigation was proceeding against a former MP and others since it was allegedly “managed” by senior police officers.

After hearing a clutch of petitions, the bench of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad said that the probe has not been carried out.

In its order, the HC had said: “It appears that the chairman of the Organising Committee during the relevant time was Shibu Soren (and he was) also CM of the state. The name of the higher-ups of police administration and bureaucrats have also surfaced along with ministers concerned. ”

The court had then said: “…Will it not be proper for this court in such a situation to hand over the investigation to CBI to maintain faith of the people and to secure social justice since there is involvement of huge amount of money and chargesheet has also been submitted against some of the accused persons…”

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