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CPI(M) today demanded a CBI probe into an alleged financial scam at Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA), in which an IAS officer has been arrested by CID, to unearth larger conspiracy. "It is a scam involving nearly Rs 200 crore. Money has been siphoned off from SJDA funds in the name of projects which have either not taken off at all or very little work has been done," CPI(M) state committee member and former SJDA chairman Ashok Bhattacharjee told newspersons here. G Kiran Kumar, a joint secretary in West Bengal Agriculture department, was arrested by CID on July 16 for his alleged role in the purported scam during his stint as CEO of SJDA from 2011 to 2013.
He is at present in judicial remand. His earlier arrest by Siliguri police commissionerate in December 2013 had led to a churning within the state administration and commissioner K Jayaraman had been transferred and put on compulsory waiting. Kiran Kumar had been bailed out and was posted as joint secretary at the time of his arrest by the CID. Claiming that Kumar could not be the only person involved in the alleged scam, Bhattacharjee demanded a CBI probe into it to unearth the larger conspiracy. He also alleged involvement of policy makers. He claimed that huge amounts of money had been siphoned off in the name of projects like setting up of electric crematoria, installation of CCTVs and electro-mechanical sewerage systems in Siliguri. He also alleged that the state has been deprived of a Rs 1,000 crore project of Ganga River Basin Management plan for comprehensive sewerage projects along Ganges and its tributaries by the Centre, owing to this scam. Siliguri is situated on the banks of Mahananda river in north Bengal.