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September 4, 2000
Fodder scam accused charges CBI with bias
Our Correspondent in Patna
Senior Indian Administrative Service officer and former secretary, animal husbandry department, K Arumugam, has charged the Central Bureau of Investigation with bias.
In a petition to Chief Justice A S Anand, he also accused two Patna high court judges, monitoring the fodder scam probe, of being vindictive and encouraging the investigating agency's officials.
An accused in the fodder scam case, he has, in a 60-page petition to Anand, sought an inquiry into the acts of omission and commission by some high court judges, by an appropriate judicial authority.
The 58 questions raised in the petition bring under cloud the investigating agency and judiciary's roles and claims that the accountant general's office failed to detect fraudulent withdrawal of funds from the treasury for years. He also charged the CBI with shielding two former Bihar chief ministers.
CBI additional director, east, Dr U N Biswas, said that the agency had submitted a charge-sheet against him and other officials only after getting the state and central governments' sanction. He refuted the charge of bias.
Arumugam asked, "Was Dr Jagannath Mishra not singled out for persecution... (when) former chief ministers Bhagwat Jha Azad and Satyendra Narain Sinha should have also been accused with Laloo Prasad Yadav, and jailed a long time back?"
Azad, as chief minister in 1988, maintained the seniority of Dr Ram Raj Ram, a kingpin of the fodder scam, he alleged. A year later, his successor Sinha made him director of the animal husbandry department, over-ruling advice of the chief secretary and other officials, he added.
He also asked, "Did not the CBI suppress the fact that all files were seen and examined by the principal secretary before being placed before the chief minister? Was Laloo, then chief minister, solely responsible for the delay in disposal of files in the secretariat, or was it the staff, or more particularly, the principal secretary?"
The former animal husbandry secretary also asked, "Why was Sajal Chakravarty, deputy commissioner, Chaibasa, singled out for prosecution, as hundreds of crores were withdrawn during other deputy commissioners' tenures too."
He accused the CBI of protecting chief secretary V S Dubey, who was finance secretary from July 1995 and January 1998, Mukund Prasad, principal secretary to the chief minister since 1990, D N Sahay, former director general, vigilance... so that they can give evidence against Laloo and others in the case.
Praying for relief from Anand, Arumugam said that the income tax authorities should be directed not to harass and mentally torture him either under pressure from the CBI or the high court's monitoring bench, as he had been animal husbandry secretary. Besides, the CBI should be directed not to arrest him either in that case or any other case it may decide to bring under the category of the "conspiracy angle".
The petitioner charged Justice S N Jha with giving undue protection and encouragement to Biswas.
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