PATNA: The Income Tax department on Thursday raided the residence of Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi's cousin Rekha Modi and several others in three towns in connection with the Rs 1,900-crore Srijan scam being investigated by the CBI.
Rekha, a social activist with political ambitions, was identified as one of the beneficiaries of the government funds allegedly embezzled by the Bhagalpur-based NGO, Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, between 2007 and 2017. The scam is currently being investigated by CBI.
I-T officials conducted searches at her flat in Saraswati Apartments on SP Verma Road in Patna for nearly four hours. Sources said she was also questioned regarding her transactions with SMVSS and her close relations with the NGO's late founder-secretary Manorama Devi. Rekha's purchase of expensive jewellery from a shop in Patna was allegedly funded by the NGO.
The RJD and the Congress accused Sushil Modi of protecting himself and others who had a role in the scam. "After I exposed the matter, the IT raids on Sushil Modi's sister's house is being conducted to protect him. Sushil Modi is the real culprit as Rs 2,500 crore of public funds in Bihar were looted when he was the state's finance minister," tweeted RJD's Tejashwi Yadav.
Modi tweeted: "Rekha Modi is my distant cousin. I don't have any business or financial connection with her. She is involved in many criminal & civil cases. In one of such cases, she had dragged my name also. I have not met her in last 10 yrs."
After the scam surfaced in August 2017 and Rekha Modi's name cropped up, Sushil Modi had said that CBI must take "stern action" against her if her role in the scam is confirmed. Rekha Modi, he had said, is "one of my two dozen cousin sisters".
The simultaneous raids by about 100 Income Tax department officials were conducted on ten commercial and seven residential premises in Patna, Bhagalpur and Purnea. Jalan Gems owner Ravi Jalan's residence and shops were among those raided in Patna.
The residences of businessmen Bipin Sharma, Pawan Meharia, Dolly Ghosh and builder Abhishek Kumar were raided in Bhagalpur. Raids conducted by the department in New Delhi were also related to the Srijan scam, said sources.