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Jharkhand CM nod for ACB probe into T-shirt, toffee scam allegation against Raghubar Das government 

Raghubar says prepared for any probe, claims governed stage with transparency

Ranchi, Feb 3: The state anti corruption bureau (ACB) will now investigate the irregularities in distribution of T-shirts, sweets and toffees in the previous Raghubar Das government.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren has given permission for ACB investigation.

This irregularity is related to Jharkhand State Foundation Day Celebrations in ,2016. In the main function organized on the occasion of Jharkhand State Foundation Day, 2016, the matter of irregularities in the program of singer Sunidhi Chauhan and distribution of T-shirts and sweets and toffees among children in different schools came to the fore.

In view of the complaints received about irregularities related to various aspects of this programme, the Chief Minister has given permission to conduct an inquiry by the ACB.

Incidentally, a public interest litigation is pending for hearing in the Jharkhand High Court regarding this irregularity.

Significantly, in June 2021, Jamshedpur East MLA Saryu Rai had written a letter to Chief Minister Hemant Soren demanding CBI or ACB to investigate the toffee and T-shirt scam in 2016-17. He alleged that the toffee, T-shirt, song-music, decoration scam in 2016-17 is more serious than the Meinhart. All the central characters of this scam are related to Jamshedpur.

Saryu Roy alleged that a printed T-shirt and a packet of toffees were bought on the basis of nomination without tenders to be given to the children attending Prabhat Pheri on the morning of 2016 State Foundation Day celebrations on the pretext of less time. The toffee was procured from Lalla Enterprises at Sidgora, Jamshedpur and the T-shirt was purchased through Prakash Sharma of Kadma. Preliminary investigation revealed that in 2016-17, Lalla Enterprises neither bought nor sold a single toffee, but took a check of Rs 35 lakh from the government under a conspiracy and charged (VAT) about Rs 4 lakh on it.

At the same time, the Commercial Tax Department has imposed a fine of more than Rs 17 lakh on Lalla Enterprises for hiding the sale of toffee.

The purchase of T-shirts worth Rs 5 crore has been shown from Kudu Fabrics of Ludhiana, but the commercial tax department of Jharkhand government has not given a road permit for it. The Commercial Tax Department is not informed about whether such a large consignment of T-shirts came from Ludhiana to Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad by road or by rail, but the payment has been completed.

It is alleged that on November 15, 2016, a song program of singer Sunidhi Chauhan was kept for one hour between pre-scheduled entertainment programs. On 9 November 2016, in a meeting chaired by the then Chief Minister Raghubar Das, the Chief Minister’s official proposed to call Sunidhi Chauhan, on which the expenditure of about Rs 44 lakh was mentioned. The proposal was accepted, but the total payment on it was shown to be more than Rs 55 lakh.

Let us inform that on the occasion of the 17th Foundation Day of Jharkhand, during the tenure of the then Chief Minister Raghubar Das, T-shirts worth 3.5 crores and toffees worth 35 lakhs were distributed in a day. After which RTI activist Pankaj Yadav had called the case of distribution of T-shirts and toffees by Raghubar government in the name of foundation day as suspicious and said that it is a well-planned scam. He had filed a public interest litigation seeking an inquiry into it.

Meanwhile, Raghubar Das said that he was prepared for any probe by any agencies and that he had governed the state with full transparency and claimed that his allegation against the Hemant Soren government might have led the government to order for such a probe.

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