A senior bureaucrat hailed as an Asian hero by Time magazine is on the run - wanted by police for allegedly stealing more than $30 million meant for rehabilitating flood victims in India's poorest state. Ironically, barely eight months ago, Gautam Goswami was feted by Time as an 'officer who saves India's flood victims'. But last month, amid a nationwide hunt for the civil servant, the government of impoverished Bihar state announced a reward of 200,000 rupees ($36,000) for information on Dr Goswami's whereabouts. Officials say detectives armed with an arrest warrant issued by a special court are keeping a close watch at major airports to stop him fleeing the country. In October, besides billing Dr Goswami, 37, as the saviour of flood victims, the magazine raved about what it described as brilliant management and execution of a flood-relief programme in Bihar under his leadership a year ago. Dr Goswami was the chief administrator of Patna, Bihar's capital, during the floods that claimed 1,000 lives and rendered millions homeless. But now he is wanted for allegedly swindling government funds meant for rehabilitating flood victims and providing relief. Law-enforcement officials have charged him with acquiring prime properties in Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh with embezzled funds and with stashing cash in bank accounts under fictitious names. Time's citation also said Dr Goswami's 'reputation for upholding the law made him a national figure and helped the image of a civil service perceived by many Indians as being corrupt or inefficient'. Dr Goswami joined the elite Indian Administrative Service in 1991. He is a fully qualified doctor but he chose the civil service. Besides praising his relief and rescue operations, Time commended him for holding free and fair elections in lawless Bihar and empowering women. But if Time put him on a pedestal, he was dragged down last month by The Indian Express - a daily newspaper known for its exposes of people in high places. Express ran a series of well- documented articles giving details of how Dr Goswami and his accomplices in the administration misappropriated $30.4 million in collusion with corrupt contractors. Initially, Dr Goswami claimed he was being framed. The administration too tried to shrug off the accusations. But a public furore forced the Bihar Vigilance Investigation Bureau to register a case against Dr Goswami and 25 others. Five people have been arrested for their role in what is now known as the flood-relief scam. Bihar Governor Buta Singh said that if local investigators fail to capture Dr Goswami and crack the sensational case, the federal government's Central Bureau of Investigation would be entrusted with the inquiry. Dr Goswami resigned from the civil service in January to join the private-sector Sahara Group, which runs a bank, a television station, a construction company, a newspaper and an airline.