If it helps Bihar regain its soul to any extent it shall have served its purpose.” Justice TL Venkatarama Aiyer concludes thus his much-awaited report of the Commission of Enquiry against six former Congress ministers, confirming the worst suspicion of the public.
The Commission has questioned the integrity of all and his actually sustained a charge of bribe-taking against one, Mahesh Sinha, who has received the severest condemnation.
The Commission was appointed by the former United Front ministry, headed by Mahamaya Sinha on October 10, 1967 to inquire into charges of corruption, favouritism and abuse of power by Messrs KB Sahay, Mahesh Sinha, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Ambika Sharan Singh, Raghavendra Narayan Singh and RLS Yadav.
Yadav is the general secretary of Bihar Congress. All others are in Congress(O).
Justice Aiyer, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, constituted the one-man Commission. The hearing began on August 7, 1969 and concluded on August 7, 1969. On February 5, 1970 Aiyar submitted his 1,332-page report to the Governor.
Former chief minister KB Sahay has been found guilty of enriching his sons and relatives at the cost of state exchequer. His assets have also been found disproportionate to his income.
Former minister and now vice president of Congress (O), Mahesh Sinha, 70, has received the severest condemnation for accepting bribes totalling ₹ 1.75 lakh from a contractor and showering undue favours at the cost of the State.
Satyendra Narayan Sinha
Satyendra Narayan Sinha has been found guilty of one charge of favouritism levelled against him.
Ambika Sharan Singh
Ambika Sharan Singh has been found guilty of abuse of power in two cases.
Raghavendra Narayan Singh
Raghavendra Narayan Singh, says the report, was intent on making petty gains and was guilty of behaviour unbecoming of a person occupying the exalted position of a minister. His net income during the period of his office was only ₹ 68,000, the acquisitions had reached ₹ 2.35 lakh.
Five charges relating to purchase and supply of stores materials, appointments, transfer and promotions and protection to criminals have been established against RLS Yadav.
After the mid-term poll in 1969, the accused Congress bosses, who occupy important positions in political life, installed Sardar Harihar Singh as chief minister. He appointed a briefing committee for the proceedings before the Aiyar Commission, but to retreat in the face of stiff opposition.
The 14-kg Aiyer-bomb explosion has also influenced the behaviour of SSP’s Ramanand Tiwari and Karpoori Thakur, who have revolted against the SSP-Syndicate-Sangh-Swatantra alliance within hours of the publication of the report. Tiwari resigned from the leadership of the four-party SVD.
Excerpts from Now 20 February 1970