MP Govt`s free dinner for IAS officers under Lokayukta scanner

The Madhya Pradesh government has come under the scanner of Lokayukta for allegedly organising a free dinner for about 250 serving IAS officers with taxpayers` money.

Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh government has
come under the scanner of Lokayukta for allegedly organising a
free dinner for about 250 serving IAS officers with taxpayers`

Official sources said about Rs 1.5 lakh was allegedly
routed from the exchequer`s account to foot the bill of the
dinner hosted late last year by State Chief Secretary Avani
Vaish for IAS officers, most of them serving in MP, at a
private club here.

The dinner, under the aegis of IAS officers
Association Service meet (a private amalgam), was organised on
October 8 last year. The `felicitation` has now come under the
lens of MP Lokayukta and an investigation into the matter

"We have received the complaint and currently looking
into it," an officer in Lokayukta said.

Ajay Dubey, member of global anti-graft organisation
Transparency International said, "It is a sheer violation of
government norms. How can the government pay the bill of a
private body (IAS association)? The Chief Secretary has
misused his official position to organise this dinner and
ensure its payment from the government`s border".

However, officials here said that the dinner was
purely a government affair and no rules were violated.

"It was a government function. We were asked by the
General Administration Department to pay the bill. All
necessary sanctions were accorded by the senior officials,"
said Sanjay Mishra, State Protocol Officer.

However, Mishra did not give a satisfactory reply as
to under what heads and rules can the state government pay the
bill of a private body.

As per the procedure, the bill should have been made
in the name of Prashant Mehta, who is the President of IAS
association, and has to be paid by the members` money, Dubey

"Instead the bill was made in the name of Chief
Secretary and was paid by the State Protocol Office allegedly
on the instance of Vaish," he claimed.

Vaish could not be contacted despite repeated


Sanaa: Tribesmen loyal to a powerful opposition chief have taken control of state news agency Saba in Sanaa, a high-ranking official and witnesses said on Wednesday, as fighting in the Yemeni capital resumed.

Clashes between security forces and Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar`s tribesmen broke out in Sanaa on Monday and have left at least 44 people dead, according to an AFP tally based on reports by medics, the government and tribesmen.

The tribesmen also hold the national airline Yemenia and have tried to occupy the interior ministry headquarters, according to witnesses and the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"Sheikh al-Ahmar`s men are required to withdraw from the buildings under their control," the official said. "Otherwise, we will force them to do so."

A Saba journalist, said that tribesman had taken over state news agency`s headquarters during the night.
"Armed men stormed the Saba headquarters during the night and demanded that we leave," the journalist told on condition of anonymity.

On Monday, a Yemeni official said on condition of anonymity that the tribesmen had taken over the trade and industry ministry.

The buildings controlled by followers of Sheikh al-Ahmar, who heads the powerful Hashid tribal federation, are located in the Al-Hasaba neighbourhood, where he lives, and adjoining streets.

Access to the area has been cut by cement blocks and burning tyres placed in the streets.
There was a lull in the fighting early Wednesday, but gunbattles broke out again later in the day, an correspondent said.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Sunday explicitly warned of civil war as he refused to sign the transition plan brokered by impoverished Yemen`s oil-rich Arab neighbours in the Gulf. Protesters have been demanding his ouster since January.

Sheikh al-Ahmar in March pledged his support for the opposition.

"I announce in the name of all the members of my tribe that I am joining the revolution," Ahmar said, calling for Saleh "to exempt Yemen from the bloodshed and make a quiet exit."