PATNA: The ongoing probe into the multi-crore-rupee scam in the selection of clerical grade employees in Bihar has pointed at the involvement of several ministers of the Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance government in addition to some legislators and bureaucrats.
The nine-member special investigation team (SIT), which has so far arrested 18 people including the secretary of the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) Parameshwar Ram, is reportedly examining the role of the at least 35 “highly influential people” who allegedly helped perpetrate the scam.
Sources said Parameshwar Ram, who has been interrogated at least three times before and after his arrest, revealed to the SIT the names of a number of ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats who sent him requests to ensure that their preferred candidates got the clerical jobs for which BSSC was conducting the four-phase
Even BSSC chairperson Sudhir Kumar, a 1982-batch IAS officer who was subjected to a “preliminary interrogation” by the SIT last Friday, admitted that he had received several recommendations from politicians.
The arrest of Ramashish Rai, owner of a prominent private school in Patna and one of the masterminds of the question paper leak that brought the scam out in the open, has turned the political heat on Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Ramashish Rai, director of AVN School and a former clerk in the science and technology department of Bihar, was one of the bailers of Lalu Prasad Yadav in one of the fodder scam cases. He is also related to Ram Sinhasan Singh, a former Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) chairman who is known for his proximity to Lalu Prasad.
On Saturday, senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi dared chief minister Nitish Kumar to order the SIT to interrogate his ally Lalu Prasad Yadav. “After JD(U) began its alliance with RJD, all criminals and power brokers of the Lalu-Rabri regime have come out of their dens and are perpetrating crimes and scams. I dare the chief minister to get Lalu’s relations with Ramashish Rai investigated and order the SIT to interrogate Lalu,” said Modi.
Significantly, AVN School, whose affiliation to CBSE was revoked in 2015 for examination irregularities and failure to conform to rules, was allowed to host the examination conducted by BSSC, allegedly
under pressure from people in top positions in the state government. Ramsumer Singh, the school’s manager, was appointed superintendent of the examination centre in violation of the rules.
The RJD chief, however, denied knowing “any Ramashish Rai” and asked Modi to bring SIT officials to his residence for his interrogation, if he so wished. “These are baseless charges. The scam is being probed and nobody, no matter how high a position they have, would be spared. Not even anyone close to me would be spared if found guilty,” said Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Nitish Kumar did not comment on the BJP leader’s allegations, but said that the probe is on and everyone guilty would face suitable consequences.