Orissa gives consent for CBI probe into rural jobs

Bhubaneswar: The Orissa government has given its consent for a CBI inquiry into the alleged multi-crore rural job scam under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

"We have given consent for a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities under MGNREGA," chief secretary B K Patnaik said.

He said the ministry of rural development had asked the state government to give its consent on a specific format before a notification was issued in this regard.

"We will do what is required," the chief secretary said.

The state government, which was initially reluctant to hand over investigation of the rural job scam under MGNREGA to CBI, agreed to allow the CBI for conducting probe after the Centre on April 11 informed the Supreme Court that it has decided to order the country`s premier investigating agency to inquire into alleged embezzlement of funds.

Earlier, the Apex Court had asked Orissa government to explain as to why it had not implemented the guidelines issued by Centre for implementation of MNREGA. The court also expressed its displeasure over misappropriation of funds meant for MNREGA in Orissa.

While favouring a CBI probe into the rural job scam in the state, Supreme Court took into consideration reports from Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD).

Both CAG and NIRD had reported that there was misappropriation of funds to the tune of 88 per cent in some districts of Orissa.

The matter relating to the rural job scam in the state came to the light by a New Delhi-based NGO Centre for Environment and Food Security which apprised Apex Court through a PIL in 2007.

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