Patna: After confiscating the assets of corrupt officials, Bihar has now initiated a process to confiscate the property of a ruling party legislator in a corruption case, officials on Saturday said.
The state vigilance department has moved the Patna civil court for a direction to confiscate Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Sonelal Hembrum`s assets. BJP is a coalition partner in the ruling coalition headed by Nitish Kumar.
"The vigilance department has filed a petition in court to confiscate Hembrum`s moveable and immovable property disproportionate to his known source of income. His property will be attached after court permission," a vigilance official said.
Vigilance lodged a case against Hembrum, a former deputy commissioner in the excise department, for amassing assets including property valued at over Rs 24 lakh during his official tenure. Vigilance had raided his residence in 1997 and then lodged a case against him.
An official in the vigilance department told a news agency on condition of anonymity that this is the first time in Bihar when an official-turned-politician`s assets would be confiscated. "For the first time, the government has initiated a move to confiscate the property of any elected representative in a disproportionate assets case," the official said.
Three days ago, a special vigilance court ordered the confiscation of the assets of former Bihar police chief Narayan Mishra and his wife on corruption charges. The court has asked the Patna district magistrate to make the seizures within 30 days. Mishra has been accused of having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Till date, the Bihar government has confiscated the houses of an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Shiv Shankar Verma, and a treasury clerk, Girish Kumar.
Proceedings to confiscate properties of some more officials, including former drug controller YK Jaiswal, revenue officer Yogendra Prasad Singh, engineer Srikant Prasad and former Rajbhasha Parishad director BN Chowdhary have also been initiated.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar gave his nod for prosecution of 11 officials of various departments last year.
The government last year put in place the Special Courts Act to confiscate properties of corrupt officials.