There is finally something for the opposition leaders in Orissa to smile in the wake of the CBI probe ordered into job scam in the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] on Monday sought extension of the CBI probe into the rural job scam under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act [MGNREGA] to all the 30 districts of the state.
The party held chief minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for the misuse of public money as he is the head of the State Council which monitors and supervises execution of work under MNREGA.
“Mr Naveen Patnaik cannot escape responsibilities after the Centre informed the Supreme Court about its plan for a CBI probe into the matter,” BJP leader and former minister Bijay Mohapatra said here.
“This will be the first CBI probe into any incident in the State during the BJD government,” Mr Mohapatra, pointed out saying that the Naveen Patnaik government’s claim of being honest and transparent was proved “wrong” by the Apex Court.
“We have been alleging since long that there has been gross misappropriation of funds in Orissa. Our allegation was vindicated by the Comptroller and Auditor General Report, 2009 and findings of the National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad. But, surprisingly, the state government did not accept those reports and no action was taken against the accused,” Mr Mohapatra said.
Justifying his demand for extending CBI probe into the whole state, Mr Mohapatra said, while earlier surveys in eight selected districts had estimated 88% misuse i.e pegged at Rs 500 crore, the amount of misappropriation would be much more all the 30 districts of the State are covered under the ambit of the probe.
The BJP leader claimed that the state government only took action against some junior officials while it shielded district collectors who were actually responsible for the scam.
“More than Rs 55 lakh was spent on landscaping and gardening of a district collector, purchase of vehicles for senior officials which was a clear violation of MGNREGA guidelines”, he added saying that the State government did not take any action against the concerned collector.
Even as the Delhi based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS), pointed out that though the irregularities way back in 2007, 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. Economic Times