With the Vigilance Bureau filing an application in a local court seeking permission to confiscate the property of Katoria (Banka) MLA Sonelal Hembram,an embarrassed Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to serve show-cause notice on its lone tribal legislator in the Bihar Assembly.
Hembram,who is facing a disproportionate assets case,is a former Bihar State Scheduled Tribes Commission chairman and had joined the BJP before the 2010 Assembly elections. If the court allows permission to confiscate his property,he will be the first Bihar politician to face such an order after the Bihar Special Courts Act 2009 became operational in March 2010. The vigilance court has till now ordered confiscation of property of five bureaucrats,including former DGP Narayan Mishra.
In December 2011,the vigilance department filed an application in the special vigilance court to confiscate Hembrams property under the provisions of Bihars anti-corruption law.
Hembram,a former deputy excise commissioner who retired in 2002,was booked after the income tax department had raided his premises in 1997,when the value of his properties at Patna and Katoria was pegged at over Rs 24 lakh. The present value is worth over Rs 1 crore.
Though we have learnt that the I-T department did not find Hembrams income disproportionate,we will give him a chance to offer explanation. It is a bit embarrassing for the party that the vigilance has moved court, said Bihar BJP chief Dr C P Thakur.
He said the notice would be issued in the next two days. Senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi endorsed the partys stand,saying the legislator owed explanations to the party.
Hembram,however,said: The vigilance bureau has not checked full facts.