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					CBI TO PROBE NREGS SCAM IN ORISSA



              THE HINDU
MNREGA scam in Orissa: Govt agrees to
CBI probe
PTI
NEW DELHI, April 11, 2011
Government has consented to CBI probe into the alleged corruption in the utilization of
central funds in Orissa for implementation of its rural job guarantee scheme under
MNREGA, the Supreme Court was informed on Monday.

“The consent to have investigation into the alleged misappropriation and diversion of
funds for the scheme has been given by the concerned minister [of Ministry of Rural
Development],” Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising told a bench headed by Chief
Justice S.H. Kapadia.

The ASG said since the Centre has taken a decision to entrust the investigation, a
notification in this regard will be issued.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, Centre for Environment and Food
Security, which has filed a petition on the issue, said the court can direct the CBI to
register an FIR.

However, the Bench asked the Centre to issue notification for the CBI probe within two
weeks.

The government decided to order CBI probe as the apex court during the last hearing
on March 14 had clearly said that if the centre failed to take decision within four weeks,
it would step in to pass an order for CBI investigation.

Ms. Jaising placed before the bench a letter written by the Ministry of Rural
Development to the CBI last week to probe the “alleged corruption and irregularities in
the implementation of MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act)“.
In the April 4 letter addressed to the CBI Director, the Department of Rural
Development, said “it has been decided to refer the Orissa case to the CBI“.

“You are requested to kindly have the matter investigated and cause to initiate criminal
proceedings against the delinquent officials under the relevant laws,” the letter to the
CBI said asking its Director to take the case on priority.

The Court also directed the Orissa Government to file an affidavit stating as to what
extent the directions of the Centre has been implemented relating to the scheme.

During the last hearing, the bench had asked the Orissa Government to tell the reasons
why it has not implemented the guidelines issues by the Centre for MNREGA.

Meanwhile, over the allegation of diversion of funds in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya
Pradesh, the bench said it would take up the issue in the next hearing.

The apex court was hearing a public interest litigation filed in 2007 by the Centre for
Environment and Food Security, alleging large-scale corruption in the implementation of
the programme for rural job under the scheme which provides for legally-guaranteed
100 days of employment to at least one member of each rural household.

Observing that it was the money of honest tax payers which was being misappropriated,
the bench also comprising Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar had
warned that if the Centre fails to take a decision within the stipulated time, then it would
step in.

The bench had said the reports from Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)
and National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) shows there was misappropriation
of funds to the tune of 88 per cent in some districts of Orissa.

“Reports of CAG as well as of NIRD shows misappropriation of funds allegedly by
officials and functionaries of the implementation agencies, resulting in diversion of funds
of honest tax payers of the nation,” the apex court had said adding such “leakage of
funds” has deprived the “beneficiaries from payment of their dues“.

“We have gone through the reports of CAG and NIRD and if the reports are true then
serious action is to be taken,” the bench had said.

The NGO had submitted that as per the reports, there was misappropriation of funds
between 53 per cent to 88 per cent in district of Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Naurangpur,
Bolangir, Raygada, Malakagiri and Koraput.

After being told by the NGO that there was also such cases in Madhya Pradesh and
Uttar Pradesh, the bench said “for the time being we would focus on Orissa only. Let the
Centre take decision on a CBI inquiry“.
On implementation of the Act in the spirit it was meant for, the bench said direct transfer
of payment to bank account or post office account of beneficiaries will certainly help.

The bench said it will take up all states one by one and beginning with Orissa since the
allegations against Orissa are most serious ones.

The apex court had on December 16 last, while hearing the PIL, rapped both the Union
and the state governments for their failure in properly executing the rural job guarantee
scheme and asked them to explain as to why a CBI probe into the fund embezzlement
should not be ordered.

“We are constrained to observe that the Union of India as well as the State of Orissa,
prima facie, have failed to effectively and purposefully implement the provisions of the
MNREG Act,” the bench had observed.

“This has resulted in the deprivation of the entitled class from getting employment and
receiving the allowances due to them in terms of the statutory guarantees available to
them under the Act,” it had said.

Seeking their response on ordering a CBI probe, it said, “We call upon both the Union of
India and the State Government to show cause as to why there should not be a
direction to the CBI to investigate this matter in accordance with law.”




The New Indian Express
CBI probe in MNREGA fund
embezzlement: Centre tells SC
Agencies
Posted: Apr 11, 2011 at 1614 hrs IST


New Delhi The government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it has decided
to order a CBI probe into embezzlement of funds meant for implementation of the rural
job guarantee scheme in Orissa and would soon issue a notification for it.

The government gave this information to a bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia saying it
would issue the notification very shortly.
"The government has taken a decision that the CBI can investigate it (embezzlement of
MNREGA funds) and notification has to be issued on it," said Additional Solicitor
General Indira Jaising.

During the last hearing, the court had asked the Orissa government to explain as to why
it had not implemented the guidelines issued by the Centre for implementation of
MNREGA.

The bench had also expressed its displeasure over misappropriation of funds meant for
UPA's flagship programme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
(MNREGA) in Orissa.

The apex court, on March 14, had asked the Centre to decide on a CBI probe into the
matter within four weeks.

The Bench had said that reports from the Comptroller andAuditor General of India
(CAG) and the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) showed that there was
misappropriation of funds to the tune of 88 per cent in some districts of Orissa.

"Reports of CAG as well as of NIRD show appropriation of funds allegedly by officials
and functionaries of the implementation agencies, resulting in diversion of funds of
honest tax payers of the nation," the apex court had said, adding that such "leakage of
funds" has deprived the "beneficiaries from payment of their dues".

The court's directions came after Prashant Bhushan, counsel appearing for NGO Centre
for Environment and Food Security, submitted that as per the reports, there was
misappropriation of funds between 53 per cent to 88 per cent in the district of Kalahandi,
Keonjhar, Naurangpur, Bolangir, Raygada, Malakagiri and Koraput.

The bench had also asked senior advocate K K Venugopal, who represented the Orissa
government, the reasons why it had not implemented the guidelines issues by the
Centre for MNREGA.




  THE TIMES OF INDIA
Rural development ministry okays CBI probe into Orissa NREGA scam
Apr 12, 2011, 03.10am IST TNN

NEW DELHI: The Union government on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it
has agreed for a CBI probe into alleged irregularities in implementation of schemes
under the centrally sponsored National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in
Orissa.
Additional solicitor general Indira Jaising told a Bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and
Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar that the formality of issuing a
notification entrusting the investigation to CBI would be completed in two weeks.

The court had rapped the Union and state governments for their failure to discharge
their duties under the NREGA aimed at providing "right to livelihood" to millions of poor
and hungry in the hinterlands.

Noting the disbursal of Rs 33,506 crore out of a total available fund of Rs 42,529 crore
for the year 2009-10, the Bench had raised serious doubts about the money reaching
the needy without being diverted or misappropriated.

The court had found that the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa was one of the
worst implementers of the social welfare scheme and asked it to furnish details of
utilisation of funds given under NREGA from 2006 till 2010.

"Let the state government show cause why allegations relating to diversion of funds and
irregular utilisation of the funds be not handed over to CBI," the Bench had said in its
judgment.

The Bench on Monday was furious at the non-filing of affidavit by the Orissa
government and gave it two weeks to provide the information. "We are still waiting for
the state government to file an affidavit and tell us to what extent it has implemented the
central government's directions."

When petitioner's counsel Prashant Bhushan said identical irregularities were detected
in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and wanted the court to seek the responses of
these two states, the Bench said it would proceed systematically and deal with a state
at a time.




THE ECONOMIC TIMES


Survey finds too many holes in welfare
scheme execution in Orissa
  11 Apr, 2011, 10.55PM IST, Nageshwar Patnaik,ET Bureau
BHUBANESWAR: Bowing to pressures from civil society, NGOs , opposition parties,
the Naveen Patnaik government finally gave its consent to a CBI probe into the alleged
corruption in the utilization of central funds in the state for implementation of its rural job
guarantee scheme under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee
Scheme                                                                         (MGNREGS).

The Supreme Court was on Monday informed about this even as the allegation of
misappropriation of hundreds of crores of rupees in food security and welfare schemes
in the state by a recent survey report has brought fresh trouble for the Orissa Chief
Minister.

Performance Audit of Food Security Schemes in Orissa conducted by New Delhi based
research organization, Centre for Environment and Food Security exposes many chinks
in the armour of Naveen Patnaik government. The report portrays a pathetic picture of
the implementation of central schemes in seven districts where the former conducted
sample                                                                       survey.

In 2007, CEFS had alleged Rs 500 crore scam in the implementation of the MNREGS in
Orissa and which has filed a petition on the issue urging for the CBI probe into the case.
Even the reports from Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and National
Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) exposed misappropriation of funds to the tune of
88%               in          some               districts          of             Orissa.

About 77% of the very poor in Orissa did not get even a single day's work under the
rural employment scheme under The during the previous year. The average MGNREGS
employment actually provided to the surveyed households in the state in last one year
was only about 4 days per household, while only 2.2% of the sample households had
got                over                 50                 days                   job.

The MGNREGS, launched in 2006, guarantees 100 days of employment in a financial
year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

"It is shocking to note that out of 2000 very poor households surveyed in Orissa , only 5
households had received 100 days of job during the previous year", the report
lamented. The sample districts of Orissa included Bolangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi,
Ganjam, Gajapati, Sundergarh and Kendujhar. The total number of sample households
covered under this survey is 3250. About 53.4% of the sample households are
scheduled          caste         and       46.6%        are       schedule         tribes.

Interestingly, the survey disputes official claims best practices in the implementation of
the rural jobs scheme in the home district of the chief minister, Naveen Patnaik. The
report reveals that the yearly average employment per household in the district was less
than                           half                         a                         day.

"The average actual NREGS employment provided to per needy and eligible household
in Ganjam district during previous 12 months was less than half day (0.26 day to be
precise)........It is a tragic irony that Ganjam district was declared by Orissa Government
as the best practice district in NREGS and it has received best performing /model
district award by the Central Government too". The report cited the plight of Biripurm, a
village                           in                      Ganjam                     district.

In fact, Ganjam district was included in the survey to study and learn the MGNREGS
best practices of the district so that they can be replicated in other districts. "However ,
we have sadly ended up discovering only worst MGNREGS practices in this so-called
best       practice        district      of      Orissa",       the       report       said.

Still shocking is the revelation that 28.3% of the sample households in the state do not
have any ration card. Except for a couple of welfare schemes, the state fared very badly
in the implementation of central schemes. For instance, there has been no impact of the
National              Family              Benefit           Scheme              (NFBS).

In case of death of the primary bread winner of a family, the NFBS provides a lump sum
benefit of Rs 10,000 to the bereaved household. "This scheme is as good as non-
existent. Hardly anyone knows about this scheme. It is shocking to note that only one
household in Bolangir had received benefit under NMBS", the report said.

The report among others recommended launching of National Campaign to bring
Transparency and Accountability in the delivery of all food security and social security
schemes and implementation Section 4 of RTI to ensure pro-active disclosure of
information related to all food security and social security schemes.




                      The Statesman

Centre to order CBI probe in MNREGA fund
embezzlement, SC told
11 April 2011

Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, 11 APRIL: The government today informed the Supreme Court that it has
decided to order a CBI probe into embezzlement of funds meant for implementation of
the rural job guarantee scheme in Orissa and would soon issue a notification for it.
The government gave this information to a Bench of Chief Justice Mr SH Kapadia saying
it would issue the notification very shortly. “The government has taken a decision that
CBI can investigate the embezzlement of MNREGA funds and notification has to be
issued on it,” said additional solicitor general Mrs Indira Jaising.
During the last hearing, the court had asked Orissa government to explain as to why it
had not implemented the guidelines issued by the Centre for implementation of
MNREGA. The Bench had also expressed its displeasure over misappropriation of funds
meant for UPA's flagship programme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in Orissa.


The apex court, on 14 March, had asked the Centre to decide for a CBI probe into the
matter within four weeks. The Bench had said that reports from the Comptroller and
Auditor General of India (CAG) and National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD)
showed that there was misappropriation of funds to the tune of 88 per cent in some
districts of Orissa.


“Reports of CAG as well as of NIRD show appropriation of funds allegedly by officials
and functionaries of the implementation agencies, resulting in diversion of funds of
honest tax payers of the nation,” the SC had said, adding that such “leakage of funds”
has deprived the “beneficiaries from payment of their dues”.


The court's directions came after Mr Prashant Bhushan, counsel appearing for NGO
Centre for Environment and Food Security, submitted that as per the reports, there was
misappropriation of funds between 53 per cent to 88 per cent in district of Kalahandi,
Keonjhar, Naurangpur, Bolangir, Raygada, Malakagiri and Koraput.


The Bench had also asked senior advocate Mr KK Venugopal, who represented the
Orissa government, the reasons why it had not implemented the guidelines issues by the
Centre for MNREGA. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed in 2007 by
the Centre for Environment and Food Security, alleging large-scale corruption in the
implementation of the programme for rural job under the scheme. Based on the
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in 2005, the scheme provides for
legally-guaranteed 100 days of employment to at least one member of each rural
household.
                                                 DNA
Centre to order CBI probe in MNREGA fund
embezzlement, Supreme Court told
Published: Monday, Apr 11, 2011, 17:21 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI


The government today informed the Supreme Court that it has decided to order a CBI probe into embezzlement
of funds meant for implementation of the rural job guarantee scheme in Orissa and would soon issue a
notification for it.

The government gave this information to a bench of Chief Justice SH Kapadia saying it would issue the
notification very shortly.

"The government has taken a decision that CBI can investigate it (embezzlement of MNREGA funds) and
notification has to be issued on it," said Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising.

During the last hearing, the court had asked Orissa government to explain as to why it had not implemented the
guidelines issued by the Centre for implementation of MNREGA.

The bench had also expressed its displeasure over misappropriation of funds meant for UPA's flagship
programme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in Orissa.

The apex court, on March 14, had asked the Centre to decide for a CBI probe into the matter within four weeks.

The bench had said that reports from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and National Institute
of Rural Development (NIRD) showed that there was misappropriation of funds to the tune of 88 per cent in
some districts of Orissa.

"Reports of CAG as well as of NIRD show appropriation of funds allegedly by officials and functionaries of the
implementation agencies, resulting in diversion of funds of honest tax payers of the nation," the apex court had
said, adding that such "leakage of funds" has deprived the "beneficiaries from payment of their dues".

The court's directions came after Prashant Bhushan, counsel appearing for NGO Centre for Environment and
Food Security, submitted that as per the reports, there was misappropriation of funds between 53 per cent to 88
per cent in district of Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Naurangpur, Bolangir, Raygada, Malakagiri and Koraput.

The bench had also asked senior advocate KK Venugopal, who represented the Orissa government, the reasons
why it had not implemented the guidelines issues by the Centre for MNREGA.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed in 2007 by the Centre for Environment and Food Security,
alleging large-scale corruption in the implementation of the programme for rural job under the scheme.

Based on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in 2005, the scheme provides for legally-
guaranteed 100 days of employment to at least one member of each rural household.
                    BUSINESS STANDARD
CBI to probe alleged fund diversion in Orissa under MGNREGA
BS Reporter / Bhubaneswar April 12, 2011, 0:36 IST



The government has finally decided to order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation
(CBI) into alleged irregularities by the Orissa government in implementing the Mahatma Gandhi
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

“The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that it will soon ask the CBI to probe into the
alleged irregularities in the implementation of MGNREGA in Orissa. The consent to have a CBI
probe has been given by the Union Ministry of Rural Development, Additional Solicitor General
Indira Jaisingh today informed a bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia.


Earlier on December 16 last year, the Supreme Court had issued a showcause notice to the Orissa government
asking as to why a CBI probe should not be ordered into the alleged diversion of funds meant for implementation of
MGNREGA.


It had directed the chief secretary of Orissa and additional secretary of the rural development
ministry to file a compliance report on the implementation of guidelines within three weeks.

The apex court had also asked them to file their response in the same affidavit about the CBI
probe. The bench had asked the Centre and the Orissa government to inform the extent of fund
released to Orissa between 2006 and 2010.

It also wanted to know whether utilisation certificate for the fund was given by the Orissa
government to the Centre or not.

Subsequently, the Orissa government, on January 5 this year, had filed a 500-page response in
the Supreme Court.

The state government, in its response, had stated that action has been taken against around 600
errant officials in connection with the implementation of this scheme.




IANS
CBI probing job scheme in Orissa, apex court told
New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) The government Monday informed the Supreme Court that it has
ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into allegations of irregularities and
misappropriation of funds in implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Orissa.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan and
Justice Swatanter Kumar was told that CBI was asked on April 4 to „investigate the matter and
initiate criminal proceedings against the delinquent officers under the relevant laws‟.

Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaisingh handed over to the court a copy of the letter that the
rural development ministry has written to the CBI director to undertake the investigation and
„accord (it) priority‟.

She sought some time so that the necessary notification for the CBI probe could be issued.

Appearing for the petitioner, NGO Centre for Environment and Food Security, senior counsel
Prashant Bhushan asked why central government needed time for issuing the notification. He
asked the court to direct the CBI to file the FIR and proceed with the investigations.

However, the court gave the government two weeks time to complete the formalities for issuing
the notification.

The decision for a CBI probe came nearly four months after the apex court Dec 16, 2010 issued
notice to the Orissa government asking why the irregularities in implementing the MGNREGS in
the state should not be handed over to CBI.

During the last hearing of the matter March 14, the court had asked the central government to say
categorically whether it will be authorising the CBI to investigate the allegations of
misappropriation and diversion of central funds allocated for the scheme to Orissa.

The NGO alleged that it had found out, in a survey, that the funds were being siphoned by
corrupt officials, thereby, denying lakhs of poor people their fundamental right to livelihood.

So startling were the findings of the survey that at one stage of the hearing of matter, Chief
Justice Kapadia had observed: „… we find misappropriation of huge funds; targeted people
deprived of scare resource and payment of their dues. If what is stated in these reports is true,
than serious action need to be taken to prevent misappropriation of funds meant for
MGNREGS‟.




                           THE TRIBUNE
                  CBI to probe ‘bungling’ in NREGA funds
                                      Legal Correspondent
New Delhi, April 11
The Central government today informed the Supreme Court that the Rural Development
Ministry had asked the CBI to probe allegations of embezzlement of funds meant for the
National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) scheme in Orissa. Additional Solicitor General
Indira Jaisingh told a three-member Bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia that a
notification in this regard would be issued shortly.

At the last hearing on March 14, the Bench had asked the Centre to decide within four
weeks on a PIL plea for a CBI probe. According to the Comptroller and Auditor General
(CAG) and the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), funds are being
misappropriated to the extent of 88 per cent in some districts of Orissa.

The Apex Court has made it clear that it will also go into reports of corruption in other
states as well in the implementation of the rural jobs scheme.




the pioneer
Govt agrees to CBI probe into Odisha MNREG scam
April 12, 2011 12:07:05 PM

PNS | New Delhi

The Centre has given its nod to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to
probe into the alleged irregularities reported from Odisha in the
implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA).

The decision was conveyed by the Government to the Supreme Court which
is monitoring the implementation of NREGA through a PIL filed by Centre for
Environment and Food Security.

After the PIL reported large-scale irregularities and mass diversion of Central
funds allocated under the scheme, the Bench headed by Chief Justice SH
Kapadia on December 16, 2010 had indicated the Centre to consider handing
over the complaints to CBI.

Presenting a notification issued by the Ministry of Rural Affairs on April 4,
2011, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indira Jaising informed the court
that the Ministry has given written instructions to CBI to carry out the probe
in relation to Odisha.

The notification issued by Indu Sharma, director, Mahatma Gandhi NREGA
said, “In the wake of directive from the Supreme Court, it has been decided
to refer the Odisha case to CBI.”

On an earlier date, the Bench of Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justices KS
Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar had said, “We are constrained to
observe that the Union of India as well as the State of Odisha, prima facie,
have failed to effectively and purposefully implement the provisions of the
Act….both the Union and State Government to showcause as to why there
should not be a direction to the CBI to investigate this matter in accordance
with law.”

The notification further directed the CBI by adding, “You (CBI) are requested
to kindly have the matter investigated and cause to initiate criminal
proceedings against delinquent officials under the relevant laws.” But the
Bench found there was no information when this notification was received by
CBI.

To ensure there is full compliance with the notification, the Bench gave
Centre two weeks time to issue proper notification handing over the probe to
CBI.




              THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS

We stand vindicated: Congress
Express News Service
First Published : 12 Apr 2011 08:58:20 AM IST
Last Updated : 12 Apr 2011 11:41:27 AM IST


BHUBANESWAR: As the Centre today gave its consent for a CBI probe into the
financial irregularities under NREGS, the Congress said its stand on the issue was
vindicated.

 “All along we have been demanding a CBI probe into the rural job scam. But the State
Government was trying to mislead the Centre and the Supreme Court by providing false
reports. Now the inevitable happened,” said Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan.
 In spite of large-scale financial irregularities under NREGS, the State Government did
not take any corrective measures. “Prima facie it appears that scam of such a
magnitude cannot be possible without the knowledge of senior government officers.
Instead of taking action against the corrupt officers, the Government tried to protect
them. Now it has to face the music,” he remarked.
 The former minister said that inquiry into the job scam by the National Institute of Rural
Development (NIRD), Hyderabad, substantiated large-scale financial and procedural
irregularities pointed out by the Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS), an
NGO. This was further confirmed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
 The senior Congress leader said that his party raised the issue in the just concluded
budget session of the Assembly demanding CBI probe.

Though the Government admitted to irregularities in the rural job scheme, it refused to
grant permission for a CBI probe. The Centre has done justice to the State by ordering
a CBI probe into the job scam, he added.

 The Government, however, said that it is not perturbed.
“We have no objection. Let the CBI probe the matter and find out the truth,” said
Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout.

 Rout having considerable experience in Panchayati Raj system of governance said that
the Centre designated district collectors as the nodal officers of the Centrally-sponsored
scheme in which the State’s share is 10 per cent. The nodal officers decide the projects
to be taken up under NREGS, monitor their implementation and utilisation of funds.
“Instead of holding the State Government responsible for the irregularities, the district
collectors should be made accountable,” he argued.
 After the irregularities were pointed by a Delhi-based NGO, the State Government took
adequate corrective measures to ensure proper utilisation of funds and timely payment
to the registered job-seekers. Apart from taking action against the officers found guilty,
the Government has formulated new guidelines for proper implementation of the Central
scheme.


             THE INDIAN EXPRESS

Orissa to follow SC orders on
MGNREGA, Polavaram: Naveen
Agencies
Posted: Apr 12, 2011 at 2130 hrs IST
Bhubaneswar A day after receiving a double blow from the Supreme Court, Orissa
government on Tuesday said it would follow the Supreme Court's orders both on the
rural job scam and Polavaram dam project issues.

"We will follow the Supreme Court orders in MGNREGA and Polavaram issue," Chief
Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters.

Stating that the state government was waiting for copies of the SC's judgements on both
the cases, Patnaik said the state government had tried its best to maintain transparency
in implementation of the rural job scheme under the MGNREGA.

Patnaik's comment came a day after the Centre informed the Supreme Court that it was
planning to go for a CBI probe into the rural job scam under MGNREGA in Orissa.

The SC on Monday also turned down Orissa's plea to stay construction of the
controversial Polavaram dam by Andhra Pradesh and directed former Central Water
Commission (CWC) member M Gopalakrishnan to inspect the project along with CWC

and submit separate reports to it.

Asked whether Orissa was isolated in the rural job scheme by the Centre's proposed
CBI probe into alleged scam, Patnaik said, "We are waiting to see copy of the court."

Meanwhile, the sources said senior officials of the state government held a meeting to
chalk out strategy on how to face the CBI probe. "As the CBI teams will visit rural areas
during investigation, the government need to be prepared for it," a senior official said.

The timing of the CBI probe had come as a major hurdle for the ruling BJD as it was
preparing for panchayat polls early next year.

The ruling party also feared that the Opposition Congress and BJP could make it a
major issue during the ensuing panchayat polls as the matter was related to the rural
population.
             The Hindu
BJP seeks extension of CBI probe into rural
job scam in Orissa
PTI , BHUBANESWAR, April 12, 2011

Seeking extension of the proposed CBI probe into the rural job scam under MGNREGA to all
the 30 districts of Orissa, opposition BJP today 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.
Mr. 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, Mr. 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.




   THE FINANCIAL EXPRESS

BJP blames Naveen for NREGS scam
Debabrata Mohanty

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 at 0324 hrs IST


Bhubaneswar: The Opposition BJP on Tuesday held Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
responsible for the NREGS scam in Orissa, which would now be investigated by the
CBI following a direction by the Supreme Court.

“The Chief Minister is the head of the state council which monitors and supervises
execution of work under MGNREGA. So he cannot escape responsibilities. What is
really shameful is that the Supreme Court singled out Orissa for the CBI probe for the
maximum cases of corruption in th NREGS scheme. The ordering of the CBI probe has
meant the apex court was convinced about the corrupt practices of Naveen
government,” said BJP national executive leader and former minister Bijay Mahapatra.

Though the New Delhi-based NGO, CEFS, in May and June 2007 had exposed the
NREGS corruption in six KBK(Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) districts, Mahapatra
demanded that CBI should investigate the irregaularities in all the 30 districts. “The CAG
report of 2008-09 said Rs 55 lakh earmarked for a particular NREGS work was used for
beautification of the garden of the then district collector. The CAG report said due to
abysmal failure of NREGS in Nuapara, rural migration was abnormally high by 483 per
cent in the district while the state average was 116 per cent,” Mahapatra said.
Naveen, who returned from Delhi on Tuesday, refused to comment on the CBI probe,
saying the government was waiting for the notification for the probe.

Mahapatra said this is the first time in Naveen’s 11 years of rule that a CBI probe has
been ordered.




                The Statesman
BJP seeks extension of CBI probe into rural job
scam in Orissa
12 April 2011

Press Trust of India


BHUBANESWAR, 12 APRIL: Seeking extension of the proposed CBI probe into the
rural job scam under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
(MGNREGA) to all the 30 districts of Orissa, Opposition BJP today held chief minister
Mr 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 Mr 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 SC, Mr Mohapatra said that crores of public money were diverted,
misappropriated and misutilised under 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 said.


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


Mr Mohapatra said 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, Mr Mohapatra said.
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
said.




           THE ECONOMIC TIMES
12 Apr, 2011, 08.32PM IST, Nageshwar Patnaik,ET Bureau



BJP demands CBI probe to cover job
scam in the whole state
BHUBANESWAR: 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.

"But the State government did not accept NIRD's report", Mr. Mohapatra pointed out.
                The Telegraph


All guns trained on job scheme graft
- Opposition slams Naveen, Centre stops MNREGA funds to state
SUBHASHISH MOHANTY

                          Bhubaneswar, April 12: With the Centre set to initiate a CBI
                          probe into alleged corruption in the implementation of the
Naveen Patnaik after      Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
his return to             (MNREGA) in the state, the Opposition today trained its guns
Bhubaneswar on            on the Naveen Patnaik government.
Tuesday. Picture by
Sanjib Mukherjee        In yet another setback to the state government, the Centre has
                        stopped releasing funds under MNREGA to the state for 2011-
12 because of the alleged irregularities and its failure to submit utilisation certificates, an
official source said.

Supreme Court was yesterday informed by the additional solicitor general that the Union
rural development ministry had given its nod for a CBI inquiry into the matter.

This would be the first CBI probe into any incident in the state during the incumbency of
Naveen Patnaik as chief minister. Ruling party leaders, however, asserted they were
not worried about the impending probe.

Naveen said the state government would cooperate with the CBI. After returning from
Delhi Naveen told reporters here, “Supreme Court’s direction will be followed. However,
we have not seen a copy of the order yet.”

A leading NGO, the Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS), had drawn the
court’s attention to the issue of alleged diversion of MNREGA funds by the state.

After the CBI probe order, the Opposition today demanded that the probe should not be
confined to the eight districts where the survey work had been carried out by CEFS. The
BJP said the amount of misappropriation would be much more if the CBI probe were to
encompass all 30 districts in the state.

BJP senior leader and former minister Bijay Mohapatra said: “The chief minister is
responsible for misuse of public money. Naveen is head of the state council which
monitors and supervises execution of work under MNREGA, and so cannot escape
responsibility.”
Coming down heavily on the government, Mohapatra said the state government’s claim
of being honest and transparent had been proved “wrong” by the apex court. “The state
government took action against some junior officials, but it shielded the collectors who
were actually responsible for the scam,” he said.

State Congress working president Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra said the party would
provide all kinds of documented proof to the CBI on the alleged irregularities in the
scheme. He too demanded that the probe be conducted in all the districts.

Senior BJD leader and agriculture minister Damador Rout said: “The state government
will not oppose the CBI inquiry and the Opposition leaders should not crow over the
inquiry order. The apex court has made the district collectors responsible for the
improper utilisation of money. The state government has already taken action in this
regard. It has also adopted a policy to make the MNREGA transparent.”

He said the Opposition was trying to create an unnecessary controversy over the CBI
inquiry.

“Naveen can no longer claim to be honest. Even after CEFS had brought the matter to
its notice, the state government did not take note of its findings. Instead it engaged a
number of lawyers to defend its image.”




                 The pioneer
MNREGA       scam:     BJP     demands       CBI    probe     in all 30        districts
April           13,             2011                            6:49:19              AM

PNS                                   |                                 Bhubaneswar

The BJP on Tuesday demanded a CBI probe into the large-scale irregularities
and corruption in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act (MNREGA) scheme and said it should be extended to all the
30                  districts               of                    Odisha.

Addressing a Press conference here, BJP national executive member Bijay
Mohapatra said that since the Supreme Court on Monday has asked the
Union Government to issue notification of a CBI inquiry into the bungling in
the implementation of the Centrally-funded MNREGA in Odisha within two
weeks, it has prima facie established the irregularities and proved that
Naveen Patnaik's BJD Government is dishonest and corrupt. The so-called
transparency of the BJD Government stands exposed, he said.

He said the CBI probe should cover all the 30 districts and all the concerned
Ministers, including those in charge of the Panchayati Raj Department, and
the officials involved in the bungling should be arrested and criminal
prosecution        should       be        initiated      against        them.

He said since such allegations of corruption, diversion of funds and
misappropriation were also reported in other districts, the CBI's probe must
cover all the districts under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court.

Mohapatra said the corruption and irregularities in the scheme in the State
surfaced in 2006, but the BJD-led Government had been claiming that there
was no bungling despite the fact that the National Institute of Rural
Development (NIRD) had pointed out large-scale irregularities in the
implementation of the scheme and the Comptroller and Auditor General
(CAG) of India had indicated to the Government about the massive bungling.

Mohapatra said the Supreme Court's direction has come in response to a PIL
filed by the Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) seeking a CBI
probe into the misappropriation and diversion of the MNREGA funds in eight
districts     of      Odisha,    studied      by      the     organisation.

He pointed out that the State Government had submitted two affidavits in
the Supreme Court stating that there has been no corruption or
misappropriation of funds in the MNREGA. The Government also denied both
in and outside the Assembly that there were no irregularities and rejected
the Opposition parties' demand for a CBI probe. Now with the Centre giving
its consent to the apex court for a CBI investigation, the BJD Government
has no other option but to honour the direction of the court.

Mohapatra said Chief Minister Patnaik and the subsequent Panchayati Raj
Ministers cannot escape their responsibilities as they now stand accused in
the                                                                   case.

He alleged that ghost workers were listed, fake job cards and muster rolls
issued and wage payments were misappropriated in the scheme meant for
generating rural employment and         job guarantee to the people in the
villages. Such irregularities were      also noticed rampantly in the Chief
Minister's home district of Ganjam.     But the Government did not take any
action against the officials involved   or did not bother to order an inquiry.

To a question whether he would demand dismissal of the BJD Government,
the BJP leader said, "It is up to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take a
decision as for the first time during the eleven years of his regime a CBI
probe has been ordered into charges of corruption against the backdrop of
the continuous denial by the Chief Minister himself relating to the scam."


                The pioneer

BHUBANESWAR               Wednesday,            April       13,        2011



We will follow SC directive: CM

PNS                                                            Bhubaneswar

Following the Union Government's consent for a CBI probe into the alleged
large-scale irregularities and corruption in the implementation of the
MNREGA in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday accepted the
Supreme                         Court's                      observation.

On return from his three-day tour to New Delhi, Patnaik told mediapersons,
“We will follow the Supreme Court's directive. However, he clarified that the
State Government was yet to receive the copy of the apex court's order.To a
question, the Chief Minister quipped, the Opposition's allegation on the
alleged kickback over the MoU signed with the private promoters to develop
the identified sites as minor ports along the State's long coastline was
baseless. The State Government has maintained utmost transparency in the
deal and similar MoU route was adopted in other maritime States, he said.
           THE ASIAN AGE
Eerie silence in Orissa over CBI NREGA probe
Apr 13, 2011 - Akshaya Kumar Sahoo | Age Correspondent , Bhubaneswa



Eleven years after he came to power in 2000 and regularly refuting charges of
numerous scams and scandals that rocked the image of his government, Orissa chief
minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik now finds himself in the dock.

After the Supreme Court’s direction on Monday for the CBI probe into the alleged `500-
crore scam in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), an eerie silence reigned in the otherwise hustle bustle of
state secretariat here while the BJP, the estranged ally of the BJD, did not miss the
chance to condemn the state government saying “it has lost its face”.


“We have been alleging since long that there has been gross siphoning of MGNREGA
fund 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 didn’t accept hose reports and no action was
taken against the accused,” senior BJD leader Bijoy Mohapatra said on Tuesday.

				
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