The Bihar government drew strong criticism on Wednesday after a cheque of Rs 5 lakh it had issued to the family of a soldier who was killed in the Sukma ambush bounced, according to CNN-News18. Ranjeet Kumar was one of the 25 officers – six of whom were from Bihar – who had died in the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma on April 24.
Kumar’s father Indradeo Yadav had deposited the cheque, issued in the name of the jawan’s wife Sunita Devi, at HDFC Bank’s Sheikhpura branch. The cheque was sent to the Patna branch and then to Noida to be cleared, reported India Today.
While HDFC’s Sheikhpura branch manager told CNN-News18 that the cheque had bounced because of a technical fault, other reports claimed there were problems with the district magistrate’s signature on the cheque. Sheikhpura District Magistrate Dinesh Kumar told India Today that the Noida office had one Chandrashekhar Singh registered as the district magistrate of Sheikhpura. “We have called the HDFC representatives and sorted out the problem,” Kumar told the publication.
The Nitish Kumar-led government had sanctioned compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the families of the CRPF jawans from Bihar. After news of the cheque bouncing emerged on Wednesday, authorities scrambled to ensure that the amount was transferred to the designated account through an online transaction, Hindustan Times reported.
The Bhartiya Janata Party took the opportunity to criticise Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. “This is not the first time such a thing has happened during his tenure,” party spokesperson Sanjay Tiger told CNN-News18. “Their ministers and leaders have been making inappropriate comments about our soldiers. Today I am hearing this news of a cheque bouncing. His family needs support, not such treatment.”
On April 24, 25 CRPF soldiers were killed in a Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. The troops were guarding workers constructing a road in the Burkapal-Chintagufa area of the Bastar region, which is a Maoist hotbed. The incident was the worst Maoist attack on security forces in Chhattisgarh since April 6, 2010, when 76 CRPF soldiers were killed in an encounter in Dantewada district.