7 ex-ministers get more time to face SIB
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After the special investigation bureau (SIB) of the police co-operative cell arrested former labour minister Badshah Singh on October 3, none of the seven former ministers it has since summoned for questioning in connection with the Labour and Construction Cooperative Federation (LACCFED) scam has appeared before it.
All seven refused to turn up, citing different reasons. Some cited ill health, others wanted more time. Lawyers who appeared for them also asked for certain documents so that they could prepare their defence. While SIB agreed to give them more time, it turned down requests for documents.
The SIB wants to question the former ministers on charges of allegedly taking kickbacks for projects allocated to LACCFED. Former public relations officer of LACCFED Praveen Singh, who is behind bars, had reportedly said during interrogation that the former ministers were paid 8 to10 per cent cut money from the advances paid to LACCFED for executing works related to their departments.
The SIB arrested Badshah Singh for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 5 crore to allot LACCFED the work of building labour shelters across the state. Singh, who was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act, is now in jail.
Before Badshah Singh's arrest, the SIB had summoned former high education minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi in September, but allowed him to go after questioning regarding alleged embezzlement of funds meant for construction under various government projects during 2010-11. Officials said Tripathi denied the charges, but may be questioned again.
However, two days after the arrest of Badshah Singh, SIB sent summons to seven other former ministers for questioning on different dates.
Former animal husbandry minister Awadh Pal Singh Yadav was summoned on October 10, former agriculture minister Choudhary Laxmi Narayan on October 12, former institutional finance minister Nand Gopal Gupta 'Nandi' on October 13, former minister for minority welfare Anees Ahmed alias Phool Babu on October 15, former technical education minister Sadal Prasad on October 16, and former secondary education minister Rangnath Mishra was called on October 17. None of them came and all have been given more time. On Thursday, former small-scale industries minister Chandradev Ram Yadav was supposed to come for questioning. He had allegedly received Rs 2 crore through his public relation officer from Praveen Singh.
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