Top Jharkhand bureaucrats gun for each other

By Nityanand Shukla, IANS

Ranchi : Two top officials of the Jharkhand government are seeking action against each other.

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Inspector General (IG) of Police of Crime Investigation Department (CID) Amitabh Chaudhary in a letter to Additional Director General of Police Gauri Shankar Rath has sought approval to prosecute Chief Secretary P.P. Sharma in a corruption case.

In response, Sharma said: “No case is pending against me in Bihar. The wild allegations made by IG CID violate the service rules.”

Sharma has written a letter to state police chief V.D. Ram and has sought a high-level probe into the report by the IG.

The IG CID shot off the letter Feb 14. “It is imperative that the relevant case be filed forthwith and investigation taken up for which appropriate directions may be immediately issued,” the letter stated. IANS has a copy of the letter.

The case pertains to corruption charges against the chief secretary when he was managing director of Biscoumaun of Patna and secretary of the department of cooperatives in 1988.

The IG’s letter said Sharma ordered fertilisers from Suraj Brand company of Rajasthan at a cost of Rs.2,509.50 per metric tonne while the prevailing price of the brand was Rs.2,000. The fertiliser supplied by the company was found to be sub-standard. Despite that, Sharma paid Rs.5.4 million to the company, the letter says.

Two cases were filed by the Sharma’s successor in 1998 at Gandhi Maidan police station of Patna. One case related to Essential Commodities Act and the second was related to forgery and conspiracy. Sharma’s promotion was withheld till 2004.

After Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar, Sharma was allocated Jharkhand cadre. He was given two promotions in 2004.

“A perusal of the papers reveals not only the commission of offences covered by major sections of IPC but the fact that systematic effort had been put in place for advantage of obvious beneficiary by suppressing facts and misleading the government that no case was pending against P.P. Sharma in the year 2004, when he was promoted to rank of chief secretary and then subsequently appointed chief secretary of Jharkhand in late 2004,” says the IG’s letter.

It further says “The law in India gives no immunity from criminal prosecution to the position P.P. Sharma holds.”

“I have received the IG’s report on Tuesday and am going through it,” Rath told IANS.

Jharkhand Human Resources Development (HRD) minister Bandhu Tirkey has sought removal of Sharma from the chief secretary’s post.

Sharma was removed from chief secretary’s post in 2005 when corruption charges were levelled against him in the capacity of chairperson of Jharkhand Health Society.

The Koda government again made Sharma chief secretary last year despite opposition from some ministers.

Reacting to the latest development, the chief minister said: “I have not received the letter from the IG.”