The Jharkhand Assembly’s Budget Session began on a raucous note on Wednesday with the opposition vociferously demanding the removal of the state Chief Secretary and DGP in connection with treasury withdrawals in a fodder scam and an allegedly staged shootout, respectively.
The opposition MLAs led by Leader of Opposition Hemant Soren stood at the assembly entrance to demand removal of the two top state officials. They were carrying banners reading ‘Dismiss DGP, remove Chief secretary from her post”.
The opposition also shouted slogans when Governor Draupadi Murmu was addressing the house on the first day of the Budget Session.
Chief Secretary Rajbala Verma was accused of doing nothing to prevent fraudulent withdrawals from the Chaibasa treasury as the then Deputy Commissioner of West Singhbhum in the early 1990s. The fraudulent withdrawal, which had taken place in the Animal Husbandry Department, is popularly known as the fodder scam.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had served notice on her in 2003 but she allegedly did not respond despite over 15 reminders.
After the local media brought up the issue, the state government issued her a show-cause notice this month. Though the Chief Secretary has submitted a reply, the state has yet to decide on the matter.
Director General of Police D.K. Pandey found himself in opposition cross-hairs with regard to a shootout at Bakoria in Latehar district in 2015, in which innocent persons were allegedly killed on the pretext of gun battle with Maoists.
The Jharkhand High Court had also sought a reply from the state government on the Bakoria shootout.
Crime Investigation Department (CID) Additional Director General M.V. Rao, in a letter to the state Home Secretary, allegedly said that the DGP had asked him to go slow with the CID investigation in the case. Rao has since been transferred out of the CID.
“The Raghubar Das government claims to be clean but its two top officials are facing serious charges and the government is not removing them. What is the reason for shielding them? They should be removed for an impartial probe,” Hemant Soren told the media.