India

MGNREGA scam: More heads to roll, says Punjab minister

MGNREGA scam: More heads to roll, says Punjab minister

The dismissal of five government employees for their alleged involvement in the Rs 2.59 crore-MGNREGA scam might just be the beginning of a purge with Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa promising that “every rupee spent would be accounted for”.

“We will not spare anyone. We are now probing every single work in these blocks. Every rupee spent would be accounted for. The inquiry will unravel the scam. Strictest action will be taken against anyone found involved in the scam,” Bajwa told The Indian Express.

The Rural Development and Panchayats minister has already ordered a through inquiry into the alleged scam that was unearthed in Muktsar, Faridkot and Ferozepur districts. The role of several Block Development and Panchayat Officers (BDPOs) and accountants is under scanner.

“An inquiry is on to find out the status of the works undertaken for which the payments were made without the approval of the higher authorities,” a senior government functionary said, adding that it has come to fore that while the grants were sanctioned for some projects, they were spent on unrelated unsactioned projects. “Several fake bills too have some to light,” the functionary added.

Last week on November 13, Bajwa ordered dismissal of five employees of the Rural Development Department who had been under the scanner for allegedly making fake payments and indulging in other irregularities in implementation of the MGNREGA scheme.

The inquiry in the scam was ordered after Bajwa’s office received a complaint. The work relates to the period after the Lok Sabha elections this year.

The minister had also directed the police to register a case against block assistant project directors Harpreet Singh and Dalip Kumar (Gidderbaha), Rajnish Sharma and Meena Sharma (Ferozpur), and Charanjit Singh (Ghall). He had also ordered an FIR against Yadvinder Singh of Faridkot block. He had already resigned.

The inquiry in the scam was ordered after Bajwa’s office received a complaint. The work relates to the period after the Lok Sabha elections this year.

Soon after the Lok Sabha election, Akalis had alleged misappropriation of funds in Faridkot district. A team from Centre had visited Faridkot but had not found anything. But after the Lok Sabha election, embezzlement has come to light in three districts.