Hundreds of supporters of the Rashtriya Janata Dal holding a protest in the state capital against the Rs 1,000-crore Srijan scam in Bihar were lathi-charged by police when they tried to march to Raj Bhavan here, police said.

The RJD’s Yuva Morcha leaders and workers held the protest at Gardanibagh but later tried to march to the Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Satya Pal Malik to submit a memorandum on their demand for an impartial probe into the scam.

“As they were stopped, a group of RJD leaders and workers tried to break through the police barricades to march on to the Raj Bhavan, but police lathi-charged them and used water canons to disperse them,” a district police official said.

RJD Spokesperson Shakti Yadav said police used force against party leaders and workers who were “protesting peacefully” against the scam.

“The government of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is hell-bent on suppressing protests against the Srijan scam to protect senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi,” he alleged.

Yadav, who is an RJD legislator, said his party will not sit silent on the scam and would intensify its protests across the state to expose the “double standards” of Nitish Kumar on the issue of corruption.

The RJD has been demanding a Supreme Court-monitored Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Srijan scam as it claimed that an impartial investigation by police was not possible.

So far, more than two dozen FIRs have been lodged and over 20 accused arrested by the Bihar Police’s Special Investigation Team, which probed the scam following Nitish Kumar’s orders.

The Srijan scam involves Bhagalpur-based NGO Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Ltd, which used to provide vocational training to women. The NGO allegedly pilfered funds meant for government welfare schemes from the bank accounts of the Bhagalpur district administration.

When the government funds were allegedly transferred to private accounts between 2005 and 2013, Sushil Kumar Modi was the state Finance Minister and Nitish Kumar the Chief Minister, the RJD has pointed out.