Muzaffarpur: Brajesh Thakur, a key accused in the shelter home sex scandal case in Muzaffarpur, owned a newspaper, each in Hindi, English and Urdu, which barely published a few hundred copies but are reported to have claimed inflated circulation figures to gain a greater slice of the government's advertisement revenue.
Shelter home sex scandal accused owned newspapers
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 Brajesh 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.
IPRD sources said that advertisements relating to north Bihar projects used to be released to Pratah Kamal since it was published from the region.
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.
And on the basis of this inflated figure it used to get advertisements worth nearly Rs 30 lakh per year from the Bihar government, the reports added.
But, the IPRD sources were not able to give the total value of the advertisement released to the papers during a year.
Police sources in Muzaffarpur 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.
Inquiries made from a number of news stands in Muzaffarpur and in Patna stated that they had never kept copies of any of these papers for sale.
The practice of publication and free circulation of a few hundred copies is very common among a large number of small newspapers across the state.
Some, however, are reported to get advertisements from the state government by claiming much higher circulation.