Five works being scrutinised by the ombudsman
On record it is shown that Rs. 80,000 has been spent towards laying a road in Harekala Gram Panchayat through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. But on ground, there is no such road that has been laid.
An investigation by MGNREGA ombudsman Seena Shetty has found that Rs. 50,000 has been paid towards the non-existent “roadwork”, while the remaining Rs. 30,000 towards the material.
This is among the five works that cost Rs. 3 lakh under scrutiny of the ombudsman. A team of officials from the zilla panchayat is looking into the alleged misuse of MGNREGA funds in the panchayat.
The misuse came to light following a complaint filed by Rafiq Arekala, a resident of Harekala, based on the documents about the five works he obtained under the Right to Information Act. .
The documents obtained by Mr. Arekala revealed that the gram panchayat had not followed the procedure in the allotment of jobs nor maintained records of the work. “Job cards have been given to well-to-do people and autorickshaw drivers,” Mr. Arekala said.
Seven job cards are held by the kin of particular member of the Harekala panchayat. “Cheques have been issued to each of the seven members. Strangely, all the cheques are deposited in the account of the member,” Mr. Arekala said. He alleged similar fraud in the case of another member, he said.
Among the others who have received the cheque included an anganwadi worker. She has been shown to have worked for 11 days for a road work.
Mr. Arekala questioned payment made to a person who is staying in West Asia. “I doubt whether the real cardholders have indeed received the payment,” he added.
Mr. Seena Shetty said the investigation so far has revealed misuse of funds related to one roadwork. Mr. Shetty said he has asked the Mangalore Taluk Assistant Executive Engineer to re-evaluate all the five works and submit a report. He has sought a report from the Executive Officer of Mangalore Taluk.
Chief Executive Officer K.N. Vijay Prakash said an independent inquiry had been taken up.
Meanwhile, Muneer Katipalla, district president of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, has alleged that a false case had been foisted by police on Mr. Arekala and two others, who had exposed the misuse of funds..