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Bihar opens school in tainted officer's seized house

Thursday September 08, 2011 07:48:06 PM, IANS

Patna: History was made Thursday when the Bihar government fulfilled its promise of opening a primary school in the confiscated Patna property of a high-ranking civil servant found corrupt.

Four days after the Bihar government confiscated the palatial house of Shiv Shakar Verma - an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who was investigated for having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income - was turned into a primary school Thursday.

Human Resources Department principal secretary Anjani Kumar Singh confirmed that a primary school was opened in the confiscated house. "The palatial house is now a school," Singh told IANS by phone.

According to district administration officials, the primary school at Rukunpura, Musahri, a suburb of Patna, till now a two-room affair in the locality, will officially begin in the three-storey house from Thursday. It was handed over to the district education officer late Wednesday.

Nitish Kumar has repeatedly said at public meetings across the state in last few months that ill-gotten property of corrupt officials will be confiscated and turned into schools for poor children.

The Rukunpura school will benefit the downtrodden as most of the children enrolled in the school there are Mahadalits, an official said.

"The state cabinet Tuesday gave its consent to a free-of-cost transfer of the house to the HRD to relocate any nearby school that has no building of its own," cabinet coordination department principal secretay Ravikant said.

He added that entire process to relocate the school in the confiscated house - first time in Bihar and maybe in the country - was conducted without fanfare. Verma became the first officer to face such action under the Bihar Special Courts Act, 2010.

A former minor irrigation secretary, Verma and eight of his relatives faced a case of disproportionate assets amounting to Rs. 1.44 crore.

Last month, the Patna High Court rejected Verma's petition challenging the vigilance court's order to confiscate his house.

Verma was suspended after vigilance sleuths searched his residence in 2007.

Nitish Kumar declared war against corruption after he became chief minister for the second consecutive term last year.



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