BJP seeks extension of CBI probe into rural job scam in Orissa

Seeking extension of the proposed CBI probe into the rural job scam under MGNREGA to all the 30 districts of Orissa, opposition BJP on Tuesday held chief minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for the misuse of public money.

Last Updated: Apr 12, 2011, 16:30 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Seeking extension of the
proposed CBI probe into the rural job scam under MGNREGA to
all the 30 districts of Orissa, opposition BJP on Tuesday held
chief minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for the misuse of
public money.
"Chief Minister is head of the State Council which
monitors and supervises execution of work under MGNREGA.
Therefore, he cannot escape responsibilities after the Centre
informing the Supreme Court about its plan to conduct a CBI
probe into the matter," BJP`s senior leader and former
minister Bijay Mohapatra told reporters here.

While earlier surveys in eight selected districts had
estimated 88 per cent misuse (about Rs 500 crore), the BJP
said that the amount of misappropriation would be much more if
the CBI probed into the matter in all the 30 districts of the
state.

Noting that the state government`s claim of being
honest and transparent was proved "wrong" by the Apex Court,
Mohapatra said that crores of public money were diverted,
misappropriated and misutilised under Mahatma Gandhi National
Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

Though the state government had taken action against
some junior officials, it shielded collectors who were
actually responsible for the scam, he alleged.
Citing an instance, the BJP leader pointed out that as
many as Rs 55 lakh were spent on landscaping and gardening of
a district collector, purchase of vehicles for senior
officials which was a clear violation of MGNREGA guidelines.

"The state government did not take any action against the
concerned collector," he pointed out.

The state government also spent a huge public money by
engaging prominent lawyers to fight case in the Supreme Court.
"Finally, you (the state government) failed. You have no face
now to claim honest," he said.

Mohapatra pointed out that though the irregularities
were first brought to light by the Delhi based Centre for
Environment and Food Security (CEFS), the state government did
not take note of its findings.

The state government then appointed Hyderabad based
National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) to find truth
behind allegations made by CEFS.

NIRD, which was paid Rs 25 lakh by the state
government for a survey to nullify claims made by CEFS, also
found massive irregularities and misappropriation of funds.
But the state government did not accept NIRD`s report,
Mohapatra pointed out.

Finally, now the CBI team would arrive in the state to
probe into irregularities. "This will be the first CBI probe
into any incident in the state during the BJD government," he
pointed out.

PTI