Bihar govt orders fresh probe into soil scam

PATNA: RJD chief Lalu Prasad‘s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav is likely to face trouble as the newly-formed NDA government, led by Nitish Kumar, has decided to probe afresh the alleged soil purchase scam at the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park in Patna during his tenure as environment and forest minister.

A forest department official said the principle chief conservator of forests had submitted fresh files related to the purchase of soil to the department. “The files will be submitted to the chief secretary for action,” he said.

Former leader of opposition and now deputy CM, Sushil Kumar Modi, had, on April 4, alleged that soil used for construction of basement of an upcoming mall near Saguna Mor was purchased by Patna zoo for Rs90 lakh without inviting any tender.

Modi had claimed the two-acre land of the mall belonged to Delight Marketing Company Pvt Ltd (now Lara Projects LLP). Lalu’s sons — Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and Tej Pratap — were in the board of directors of the firm.

Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, on April 6, had asked the forest department to furnish documents related to the soil purchase and the procedures followed.

On April 21, Anjani said no evidence of a scam was found in the prima facie investigation of the soil purchased by Patna zoo.

He had said the firm which supplied soil claimed that it was sourced from five different places. He, however, had said that further documents had been sought from the forest department.

Also, the department was asked to inquire from where the soil had been brought. Singh could not be contacted for his comment.

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