PATNA: In a setback to jailed former Patna district magistrate Gautam Goswami, the High Court on Friday rejected his bail petition in the multi-crore rupees flood relief scam. Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad dismissed Goswami’s bail petition, saying "on the face of it, the allegations of embezzlement of money meant for providing succour to flood-hit people appears serious and it is not a fit case for granting bail." The court also rejected bail pleas of a supplier of relief material and alleged kingpin of the scam Santosh Jha and other accused, including deputy collector Devendra Kumar and Amitabh Arun, an assistant in the then DM’s office.
Goswami, Jha, Arun and Kumar are currently lodged at Beur jail here in connection with the case. The bench also directed the state vigilance bureau to complete the probe into the case, including a thorough investigation of role of politicians, within two months. RJD president Lalu Prasad’s brother-in-law and MP Anirudh Prasad alias Sadhu Yadav had been quizzed by the vigilance team earlier in the case. While Goswami’s counsel Tuhin Shankar argued that his client was innocent and there was serious lacunae in the ongoing probe in the case, vigilance advocate Y V Giri contended there were sufficent evidences against Goswami and others. Shankar later said that his client would soon move the Supreme Court for bail. The case relates to alleged swindling of about Rs 17 crore meant for distribution of relief to flood-hit people.