Probing ‘shadow investments’, Bhagalpur SIT looks for two political leaders

Written by Santosh Singh
| Patna |
Published:August 23, 2017 4:22 am

RLSP leader Deepak Verma’s house which was raided. (Express)

The Bhagalpur Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Rs 700-crore Srijan Scam is looking for two political leaders who could hold the key to the probe into the NGO’s “shadow investments”, sources have said. Over the past two days, the SIT has raided the premises of former state vice president of BJP Kisan Morcha Bipin Sharma and RLSP district president Deepak Verma and seized documents. Both Sharma and Verma are at large.

It is learnt that Sharma, who was removed last week as Kisan Morcha state vice-president after his name surfaced in the probe, was a friend of Srijan founder-secretary Manorama Devi’s son Amit Kumar. “Sharma arranged all key political meetings of Manorama. He is said to have introduced Manorama to senior politicians,” alleged a neighbour of Manorama Devi at Tilkamanjhi. The neighbour added that Manorama considered Sharma “another son” and he was a frequent visitor to her residence and would often stay back.

“Sharma ran a small shoe shop at Tilkamanjhi some eight years ago and also sold newspapers and magazines. He had a phenomenal growth after his association with Srijan. He now has a showroom of branded shoes and jeans,” alleged a senior police officer, adding that they were trying to find out if Sharma was used as a “dummy” by Srijan for its “shadow investments”.

The officer claimed Sharma’s political rise coincided with his business growth and he was named state vice-president of BJP Kisan Morcha. He also owns two palatial houses at Anandgarh and Tilkamanjhi in Bhagalpur town, said the source. Police are also trying to find out if Sharma invested in Bhagalpur and elsewhere in real estate and other businesses “with Srijan money”, the officer said.

RLSP leader Verma, who is also the Sabour president of the Primary Agriculture and Credit Society, had unsuccessfully contested for a seat in the Bihar Legislative Council last year. His wife and sister-in-law are members in Srijan’s decision-making executive committee. “We have got some leads on Verma keeping PACS money with Srijan bank. We suspect him to be another dummy for Srijan’s shadow investments,” said a senior police officer.

Police have also raided premises of two Bhagalpur businessmen — Kishore Ghosh, who runs two shopping malls (one co-owned with Srijan auditor P K Ghosh, also on the run) and N V Raju, owner of the biggest electronic showroom in Bhagalpur. SSP Manoj Kumar told The Indian Express: “We are doing a cumulative assessment of the raids.”

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