Now to cover all aspects of corruption, irregularities and illegalities in Sardar Sarovar Project

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has passed a major interim order in a two-year-old public interest litigation case filed by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) alleging corruption amounting to crores of rupees in rehabilitation of thousands of Sardar Sarovar Project-affected families.

A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A. K. Patnaik and Justice Sanjay Yadav, amending its initial interim order of August 21, 2008, ordered expansion of the scope of terms of inquiry of the Justice Shravan Shankar Jha Commisison.

The Jha Commission was set up to investigate allegations of fake land registrations (in purchase of alternative land in rehabilitation) and corruption in provision of civic amenities at 80 relief and rehabilitation sites for the Sardar Sarovar Project in the State.

With Friday’s order, the Commission’s scope of inquiry has been widened enormously to cover all other aspects of corruption, irregularities, illegalities raised by the petitioners, including fraudulent payment of compensation to ineligible persons, and corruption in payment of livelihood grants to landless oustees with fake claims of purchase of productive assets.

These cases of corruption have been alleged by the NBA in villages like Chhota Barda, Khedi Piplud and Morkatta in Badwani district and Semalda, Ekalwara and others in Dhar district as well as excluded tribal families in the villages of Anjanwara, Bhitada, Jalsindhi, Sugat and others in Alirajpur district.

The Jha Commsison has been asked to conduct an inquiry into all the newly added aspects and report whether there is any prima facie material to show that any offences have been committed by the Narmada Valley Development Authority or the State Revenue and other departments entrusted with resettlement and rehabilitation and disbursement of money to the oustees, eligible or ineligible.