MGNREGA scam: activist writes to PM

Seeks arrest of four accused IAS officers; says Haryana govt trying to shield them

More than a year after Haryana Lokayukta recommended registration of a criminal case against four senior IAS officers in an alleged ₹25 crore Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme scam, Panipat-based RTI activist P.P. Kapoor has now written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking immediate lodging of the case against them in view of the prolonged delay and their arrest.

In a six-page letter, Mr. Kapoor said Lokayukta Justice Nawal Kishore Agarwal, based on his complaint, had in its order on May 26, 2017, recommended to the competent authority to initiate appropriate action, including registration of a criminal case, against then Ambala Deputy Commissioners Mohammad Shayin and Samir Pal Srow and then Ambala Additional Deputy Commissioners Renu Phulia and Sumedha Kataria.

No report yet

The Lokayukta had also demanded that the action taken on his recommendations be sent to the authority within three months.

The Haryana government set up a high-level committee headed by IAS Navraj Sandhu for its comments on the Lokayukta order, but the committee was yet to submit its report, said Mr. Kapoor in his letter, adding that the Haryana government was trying to shield the officers.

A first information report was registered against nine Forest Department officials by State Vigilance Bureau in connection with the scam in 2015 after the matter was brought to the notice of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Pick-and-choose policy

But Mr. Kapoor, in his letter, alleged that the government was resorting to pick-and-choose policy by not initiating action against the four bureaucrats.

He claimed that then Director-General of Police, State Vigilance Bureau, Sharad Kumar, had named the four bureaucrats in his report along with the Forest Department officials.

Mr. Kapoor said the incumbent BJP government and its predecessor had failed to take action against the four bureaucrats and it seemed the claims of zero tolerance towards corruption were limited to junior officials.

The alleged scam pertains to developing herbal park and a nursery and planting of trees under MGNREGA from 2007-2010.

A query to Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, R.K. Khullar, seeking to know the status of the committee’s report did not elicit any response.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 4:34:05 AM |

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