Politics

Srijan Scam Accused Mahesh Mandal Dies in Bihar Hospital

Mandal, who was an official in the Bhagalpur district welfare department, was arrested on August 13 for being a conduit in the Rs 700-crore Srijan scam.

RJD activists burn an effigy of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar during a protest against Bhagalpur Srijan scam in Patna on Friday. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Mahesh Mandal, a key-accused in the Srijan scam, died at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital (JLNMCH) in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district late on Sunday.

Doctors said Mandal was suffering from multiple ailments involving the kidney, heart, diabetes and hypertension. He was taken to the hospital after he complained of acute discomfort due to urine retention.

Mandal, who was an official in the Bhagalpur district welfare department, was arrested on August 13 from this residence at Pista village in Jagdishpur block of district for being a conduit in the Rs 700-crore government fund transfer scam, which also involved the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Srijan Mahila Sahyog Samiti.

“Mr Mandal had a kidney and sugar problem for which he had been taking medical treatment earlier. When his condition deteriorated on Sunday night, he was sent to Mayaganj hospital where he died”, Ramanuj Kumar, jailer of the Bhagalpur central prison, told local journalists. Mandal had earlier been provided dialysis in a prominent hospital in Mumbai, reported the Hindu.

Mandal’s family blamed the hospital administration and the police officials for negligence and resorted to violence in the hospital premises. According to the Hindu, the family has charged that the government did not provide proper treatment to him as he might have spilled the beans in the scam.

The scam was unearthed on August 4 when a government cheque of Rs 10 crore bounced due to insufficient funds. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had later confirmed that a scam of siphoning off government money from the Bhagalpur district treasury by the NGO had happened. A probe committee was constituted. Last Thursday, a CBI inquiry was recommended into the scam.

It was found that the NGO, which is located about ten kilometres away from Bhagalpur and was founded by the late Manorama Devi, was involved in fraudulent practices and had siphoned off crores of money from the government treasury.

The NGO also allegedly fudged bank passbooks and escaped government audit between 2007 and 2014 and continued to earn interest on principal amount, reported the Hindustan Times

It is alleged that Mandal was a close associate of Devi. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) led by Lalu Prasad Yadav had recently released pictures of Devi felicitating top BJP leaders and had demanded the resignation of Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi. He also alleged that this scam was even larger than the fodder scam in which he has been convicted.