Patna toilet scam: Officials used NGOs as front to siphon of public money

The toilet scam that has surfaced in Patna was a result of a conspiracy to loot public money through non-government organisations (NGOs), like it happened in the multi-crore Srijan government funds transfer to NGO accounts scam. 

Public health engineering department (PHED) engineer Vinay Kumar, the alleged kingpin of the toilet scam, the sum involved in which has gone past Rs 14.5-crore, is still out of the police reach. However, the investigations so far have revealed that the swindling of fund was done through a tacit understanding with some NGOs. 

For toilet construction, funds were meant to reach the beneficiaries directly, at the rate of Rs 12,000 per toilet. However, unscrupulous officials diverted the money to the account three-four NGOs from where it was to be handed over to the beneficiaries. 

“If the money remained in the account of the NGOs, 5% commission was earmarked for the NGOs, while the remaining money was withdrawn by the officials concerned. Some money changed hands directly”, said an investigator. 

He said that to ensure there was no foul play by the NGOs, the officials had also got an agreement prepared on stamp paper. This came to light after the secretary of an NGO Adi Seva Sansthan, Suman Singh, and her husband Diwakar Singh were arrested and they revealed the modus operandi. 

According to a senior official, the agreement was signed after Vinay Kumar, who is known to enjoy a lot of political clout, and his associates, lost a lot of money given to others due to demonetization. In fact, he got a back-dated FIR registered at the Gandhi Maidan police station the day Patna district magistrate Sanjay Agarwal disclosed the financial irregularity after an internal inquiry. 

Gandhi Maidan SHO Priyaranjan was also suspended for his alleged involvement in the scam, whereas Vinay Kumar disappeared. Kumar, who was not authorised to release funds more than @Rs 5 lakh per day and Rs 50 lakh a month, illegally transferred Rs 13 crore within 15 days. 

“It is a new modus operandi in which even for illegal work legal document are used. He insisted that there should be a written agreement, clearly laying down terms and conditions, with the NGOs,” the official said. 

Officiating SSP D Amarkesh said that a manhunt had been launched to nab Vinay, the mastermind of the case.

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