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Former Patna DM Gautam Goswami dies at 41

Gautam Goswami,a former poster-boy of the civil services who fell from grace with the Bihar flood relief scam,died of pancreatic cancer...

Written by Santosh Singh |
January 7, 2009 1:25:42 am

Gautam Goswami,a former poster-boy of the civil services who fell from grace with the Bihar flood relief scam,died of pancreatic cancer at a private nursing home here on Tuesday. Goswami was 41. He is survived by his wife Dr Anuradha Goswami and their two children.

Goswami had shot into the limelight when,as District Magistrate in 2004,he asked senior BJP leader and the then Deputy PM L K Advani to leave the dias during an election meeting at Patna midway for canvassing beyond the prescribed time limit set by the EC.

Later,that year,Time magazine picked him as one of its Asian Heroes. “As the District Magistrate in Patna,Goswami coordinated a massive relief effort that involved the Indian Government,Army and international aid agencies. At 4:30 each morning,Goswami was at Patna’s airport hangar,seeing off helicopters loaded with food,drinking water,tents and medical supplies; then he made sure truck convoys headed off to areas that could be reached by land,” wrote Aravind Adiga,then the magazine’s India correspondent,in a special issue.

Later,an Indian Express investigation—for which it won the International Press Institute award for journalism—found that Goswami allegedly diverted Rs 17.8 crore meant for flood relief to a fictitious entity,Baba Satya Sai Industries. A Vigilance inquiry was ordered and Goswami resigned from the IAS and joined the Sahara Group. When the Special Vigilance Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea and the Sahara group sacked him from the post of vice-president. Goswami withdrew his resignation from the IAS on June 17,2005 before it could be accepted and was placed under suspension on June 30 after his bail petition was rejected. He was in jail for 15 months and was granted bail by the Patna High Court on November 10,2006. All 22 accused in the case are now out on bail. Last month Bihar reinstated him in service,though without a post. He was diagnosed with cancer early last year.

Goswami,himself a post-graduate in medicine,told The Indian Express in June: “My every moment is God’s gift and every moment is a new start. I am happy as I believe in Swami Aurobindo’s Gita interpretation of absolute surrender to the unknown.” He was shifted from the IGIMS here to a private nursing home on Saturday after his condition deteriorated. He was cremated at Patna’s Gulbi Ghat. Culture Secretary Vivek Kumar Singh and Patna District Magistrate Jitendra Kumar Srivastav were the only officers to attend the funeral.

For complete coverage of Bihar flood scam,go to indianexpress.com

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