Akhilesh to send a strong message with CBI probe

Lucknow: Renewing his demand for a CBI probe into implementation of MNREGA in UP, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh today asked Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to send a "strong message" that the new government would not tolerate corruption or scams.

"I have requested Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to recommend CBI probe into the implementation of MNREGA scheme specially in these three districts (Gonda, Balrampur and Sonbhadra) where largescale misappropriation has come to light," the Union Minister for Rural Development told reporters here after meeting the chief minister.

The CAG audit is on in 12 states which would be completed in seven to eight months` time but it would be better not to wait till then and the chief minister has said that he would look into it soon, Ramesh said.

"Though it is difficult to find out how much of the Rs 6500 to Rs. 7000 crores spent in UP under the scheme has gone with whom, it should be accepted that scams have taken place," the minister said, adding that in a letter written earlier to the state government he had given examples of how funds have been misappropriated in various districts.

Promising full support to the state, he said that he told Yadav that though they are political rivals but on the issue of rural development, they would work together. He, however, added that no political meaning should be derived from it as "this cooperation" was "just an indication that UPA government does not discriminate with non-Congress ruled states and charges to this effect are unfounded and false".

Though some good work has also been done under the MNREGA, he said, "in UP there is an atmosphere that there are scams all around and it has to be ensured that its funds are not misused by the sarpanchs in buying Boleros."

"A CBI probe will send a strong message that the new UP government would not tolerate corruption or scams," Ramesh said.