PATNA: The state vigilance investigation bureau was asked by the then CM, Rabri Devi, in November, 2003, to investigate the charges made by former MLA Umadhar Prasad Singh regarding financial irregularities in "re-opening" of the Ashok Paper Mill (APM) in Darbhanga. The bureau was asked to complete the probe within two months.
But, even after the lapse of more than four years, the bureau is still groping in dark as it claims it still does not have the relevant documents to make a thorough probe.
Under the instruction of the Supreme Court, a Rs 504-crore package was to be implemented for the rehabilitation of Ashok Paper Mill. Singh alleged that there was a misappropriation to the tune of Rs 35 crore due to the nexus between the private party and at least three bureaucrats of Bihar, who allegedly tried to mislead the Supreme Court on the implementation of the package.
The APM, alleges the ex-MLA, never came into production despite having received fund from the IDBI. After the government announced a vigilance probe, it was locked up again.
According to the information provided to the ex-MLA under the RTI Act, the letter of SP (vigilance) Manju Jha states the financial aspects of the first instalment of the package should be probed by an agency dealing with financial management.
As regards the role of officials in the deal, the vigilance bureau has pointed out that the Supreme Court had set up two committees to monitor the implementation of the revival package.
One committee was headed by the secretary of the Union ministry of finance and the other was under the secretary, Union industry ministry. The second committee was to implement and monitor the rehabilitation package. The committee, apart from Union government officials, had representatives from IDBI, industrial development commissioner (IDC), Bihar, and the president of the trade union of the mill.
"According to our information, this committee held as many as 23 meetings. The report on details of the meetings are not available with the vigilance bureau," the vigilance SP stated in her letter, stressing that the reports were needed for reaching a conclusion in the investigation and the vigilance bureau was trying to obtain the reports.
Singh alleged that the vigilance bureau was trying to hide the facts. He pointed out that a vigilance team had made an on-the-spot investigation in December, 2004, and had found the managers absconding and the mill locked. Singh alleged the vigilance bureau had failed to lodge a case against absconding members of the mill management.