Jharkhand delays sanction to prosecute tainted bureaucrat


Ranchi : The Arjun Munda-led Jharkhand government is delaying granting approval to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute a senior bureaucrat accused of a Rs.130-crore health scam, an official said.

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According to sources, the CBI had sought approval from the Jharkhand government to prosecute former health secretary and senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Pradeep Kumar in November last year.

He was suspended after the CBI raided his house in connection with a National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam in August 2009. Investment documents worth at least Rs.72 lakh were seized from his possession, including Rs.47 lakh worth of fixed deposit documents, investment documents worth over Rs.25 lakh and documents of flats in New Delhi and Udaipur.

Kumar has been named in the case for misusing his official position and “fraudulently and dishonestly” purchasing medicines, medical equipment and appliances worth over Rs.130 crore for hospitals from 19 suppliers.

But the state government’s tardy response is holding up the case.

“We sought prosecution approval against five senior government officials, including Pradeep Kumar. Once we get the approval, we will file a chargesheet in the court,” a source in CBI told IANS, adding that the agency had enough proof to nail Kumar.

“Two months have passed but the state government has yet to respond to the CBI’s request,” a state government official told IANS.

The opposition parties say the delay was due to Pradeep Kumar’s proximity to Chief Minister Arjun Munda.