The key accused in the alleged Rs 700-crore fund transfer scam in Bihar died at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital in Bhagalpur district on Monday. Mahesh Mandal’s kidneys were damaged, and he had cancer, according to ANI. He also suffered from various other ailments such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.
Mandal, a clerk at the Welfare Department, was arrested on August 13 in connection with the scam. His statements had led to the arrest of a few others, and investigators had hoped he would continue to be useful, the Hindustan Times reported.
So far, the government has filed 10 FIRs and arrested 12 people in the case. The Nitish Kumar-led Bihar administration has ordered an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the supposed scam.
The alleged swindling began in 2006. Preliminary investigation had found that money meant to acquire land under the Mukhya Mantri Nagar Vikas Yojna was transferred under different names to the accounts of Bhagalpur-based cooperative society Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Limited. The money was transferred to the Bank of Baroda and Indian Bank, where the government, too, had accounts. The process continued till the death of Srijan Founder-Secretary Manorama Devi in February.
The police had claimed Mandal was the link that connected the bank, government and Srijan, and that he had admitted to receiving Rs 3 crore as commission from Srijan over 15 years, reported The Indian Express. The matter came to light in March.
The police had said that the organisation used to organise training and employment programmes for women in different blocks in Bhagalpur. It also ran a cooperative bank, and had applied to the Reserve Bank of India for a license.