CBI to probe MGNREGS scam in 6 districts

Bhubaneswar: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it will probe into alleged irregularities in the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) in six districts of Odisha.

Apart from the report submitted by Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS), a New Delhi-based NGO which had filed PIL in the apex court on embezzlement of funds in the rural employment scheme, the court directed the premier investigating agency to incorporate reports of CAG (Comptroller of Auditor General) and National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) during investigation.  

“The chief justice’s bench has today on record the order issued by state of Odisha by which a CBI investigation into the various irregularities and illegalities and crimes committed in the implementation of MGNREGA in six districts of Odisha which was pointed out by CEFS has been ordered,” petitioner’s lawyer Prashant Bhusan said

CEFS had alleged that over Rs 500 crore allocated under MGNREGA have been swindled during 2006-07 in the six tribal-dominated districts. 

“The SC has directed to issue fresh notification in which CAG and NIRD reports would be included in the investigation process,” petitioner and Director of CEFS Parshuram Rai said.

With the SC directive, CBI would probe into alleged irregularities in the Central sponsored programme in Bolangir, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabrangpurk, Nuapada, and Rayagada.

The court has also directed to issue fresh notification to this effect.

Earlier on April 4, the Union Ministry of Rural Development had written a letter to CBI Director for CBI inquiry into rural job scam in the state. Following this, Centre had given its consent to SC on CBI probe in this matter.

This apart, the state government had also given its consent for CBI inquiry in a specific format as provided by the rural development ministry.

“We have furnished information on format specified by Centre. The court took up the matter today and ordered for CBI probe in six districts of the state,” Chief Secretary B K Patnaik said.

Then, court had directed Centre to issue notification within two weeks. As the time limit has expired, the court today directed CBI to issue fresh notification in this regard.