NEW DELHI: Assets worth Rs 4.10 crore have been attached in a money laundering probe linked to the alleged Srijan NGO funds scam of Bihar, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said on Wednesday. The NGO is under the probe scanner of the CBI and the ED after a Rs 1,000 crore scam by alleged embezzlement of government funds was reported in 2017.
The attached properties include a dozen flats worth Rs 3.09 crore located at Bhagalpur and Patna in Bihar and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, 5 plots and houses valued Rs 87 lakh located in Bhagalpur, Deoghar (Jharkhand) and Sitamarhi(Bihar), the central probe agency said in a statement issued here.
It said that a Scorpio SUV worth Rs 11.87 lakh and bank balances of Rs 1.20 lakh have also been attached after a provisional order was issued under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The agency slapped money laundering charges in the case against the Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Limited (SMVSSL) on the basis of a CBI FIR.
The CBI has filed multiple charge sheets in the case too. The ED said its probe found that “huge funds were siphoned off from the government accounts after being illegally transferred to the bank accounts of SMVSSL, Bhagalpur”. “SMVSSL became a tool for embezzling/misappropriating government funds in collusion with government officials, bank officials and other individuals,” it alleged.
The money so transferred into the bank accounts of the SMVSSL it claimed, was further transferred through RTGS/cash/cheques to various persons and entities.
It alleged that the main accused in the case, late Manorma Devi, was the secretary of SMVSSL since it’s inception till her death and she was “actively involved in misappropriating the government funds in collusion with government officials, bank officials and other persons”. She died on February 2, 2017.
The agency had issued the first attachment of assets order in this case in May last year when it seized assets worth over Rs 14 crore.
It had then said its investigation found that “from 2003-04, funds to the tune of Rs 557 crore were siphoned off from government accounts after being illegally transferred to the bank accounts of the NGO (Srijan)”.
The CBI too had alleged that the ‘Samiti’ (NGO), which was working to impart training to women, had pilfered government funds in connivance with the bank officials and state government officials between 2003-2014.
An initial probe by the state police had revealed that the ‘Samiti’, based at Sabour in Bhagalpur district, allegedly procured cheque books from banks and forged signature of the district magistrate to transfer government funds to its account.
The probe had also pointed to the involvement of nationalised banks and government officials in the fraudulent withdrawal of funds in three districts of Bhagalpur, Banka and Saharsa.