Lucknow: It seems the year 2010 will be remembered as the year of scams in India. After the 2G spectrum, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Housing Society scams, a massive Rs 35,000 crore scam has come to light in Uttar Pradesh.
According to reports, a huge stock of food grain meant for distribution under the Antyodaya, Annapurna and Mid-Day Meal schemes was smuggled outside the state and even the country to Bangladesh, Nepal and other nations. It is believed that top officials of the state as well as the central government colluded to divert the food grain between 2001 and 2007.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is already probing the massive food grain scam. If CBI sources are to be believed, the scam involves over 200 state and central government officials.
UP Chief Minister Mayawati had recommended a CBI probe into the scam way back on December 1, 2007. The investigating agency had subsequently registered nine FIRs - eight in Ballia and one in Lakhimpur Kheri – naming several officers of the state government.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is also going to carry out searches and seizures of assets, properties and cash of all officials involved in the scam that revolves around diversion of food grain meant for the poor.
Food grain meant for distribution to the poor either free of cost or at highly subsidised rates in at least 31 districts of UP was diverted out of the state and, in some cases, out of the country by forging documents.
Last week, a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court asked Parliament to amend rules to enable prosecution of corrupt bureaucrats after three months of the government authority concerned denying permission for the same.
The UP government had initially refused permission to prosecute under CrPC Section 198 several officers involved in the scam. But the Lucknow Bench of the HC ordered on December 3 that it give permission for prosecution of the employees involved.
The court also asked CBI and other investigating agencies, including ED, to complete probe within the next six months.
It directed that the agencies expeditiously investigate accusations made against each and every person irrespective of the position and status of such persons. “It is imperative to retain public confidence in impartial working of state agencies,” the bench said.
Accordingly, CBI and other investigating agencies shall now proceed with further inquiry not only with regard to Ballia, Lakhimpur and Sitapur districts but also with regard to Varanasi, Gonda and Lucknow districts.
(With inputs from DNA)