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The state government today alleged that a Bhagalpur-based NGO had syphoned off government money of over Rs 300 crore, the funds allocated for various government schemes.
The amount of fraudulent withdrawal of government funds has gone upto Rs 302.70 crore so far in an investigation which is being carried out by the Economic Offence Unit (EOU), an official said.
A team headed by Inspector-General (IG) (EOU) Jitendra Singh Gangwar flew to Bhagalpur by a special aircraft yesterday evening after the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had raised the issue at a function organised to mark the 'Earth Day' yesterday.
"A number of government funds that have been embezzled by the NGO, has gone upto Rs 302.70 crore and this amount could escalate further," Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh told reporters here.
Three FIRs have been lodged against the office-bearers of the NGO, bank officials and government employees without whose connivance, it was not possible to embezzle such a huge government funds.
Of the embezzled money of Rs 302.70 crore, the state government had allocated Rs 270 crore for land acquisition, Rs 17.70 crore for urban development and Rs 15 crore belonged to district Nazarat.
Explaining as how the NGO in connivance with bank and government officials embezzled public funds, official sources said that once the state government released the funds to the district administration (say, for land acquisition), these funds were later transferred to the NGO bank account with the help of forged signature of the district magistrate in connivance with bank officials.
And the NGO, which invested the funds in real estate and other business, used to return the money to the government's bank account as and when the money was needed in the district administration's account, sources said adding that in this way, it was very difficult to detect irregularities.
The chief secretary said that they (NGO people) used forged signature of the DM to deposit the money in their bank account.
"The issue (of embezzlement of public funds) came to light very recently in August itself when one of the cheques bounced," Singh said.
Singh said that he had asked all the districts to get their bank accounts verified and update in order to ascertain whether or not such embezzlement of public money had taken place any other district.
He, however, refused to reveal as for how long this financial irregularity by the NGO being carried out.
Two-three persons have been detained for interrogation so far, the chief secretary added.
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