PATNA: In a shocking disclosure the main accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case ,Brajesh Thakur also owned a newspaper each in Hindi, English and Urdu and got a huge money from Information and Public relation department of Bihar government as regular advertisement.
Reportedly his newspapers were published a few hundred copies and as per government record claimed highly inflated circulation.
As per RTI information, Thakur's newspapers got about 46 lakhs rupees advertisements annually.
Of these, a state government publication lists Pratah Kamal as a Hindi daily published from Muzaffarpur News Next in English from Patna and Haalaat-e-Bihar, an Urdu daily published from the adjoining district of Samastipur.
The publication also lists him as Special Correspondent of Pratah Kamal, Rahul Anand, the son of Brajesh Thakur as a reporter of News Next and one Shaista Parveen as correspondent of Haalaat-e-Bihar, besides, one Ramashankar Singh as its editor.
Thakur was accredited both to the PIB and the state Information and Public Relations Department (IPRD), both of which have cancelled his accreditation after the case was lodged against him. Interestingly, he was also a member of accreditation committee that recommends the name of journalists for accreditation.
Copies of these newspapers were sent only to government officers and politicians said a local journalist."We never saw these newspapers on stalls "he added
"There is nexus between I&PRD officials and people like Brajesh who used to make money by this channel" said RTI activist Shiv Prakash Rai. "How this can happen when a newspaper with a highly inflated circulation got such a huge money from government. "questioned Rai. He termed it as an organised loot of public money.
Based on RTI report Pratah Kamal got Rs.39,63,519 as advertisement and Urdu daily Haalaat-e-Bihar recieved Rs.6,67,867.
Media reports claimed that the Hindi daily owned by Thakur published not more than 300 copies daily, but its daily circulation was shown as 60,862 copies Urdu daily 61,012. These circulation figures are far more than many leading newspapers revealed in the RTI report.
Police sources said that Pratah Kamal was published from the same premises which housed the shelter home and it hardly circulated a few hundred copies daily and this fact had been mentioned in their report.
Police sources also said during their investigation they were surprised to find a staircase connecting the shelter home to the newspaper office. (with pti inputs)