Ramesh wants CBI probe into MGNREGS graft

Ramesh stepped up his tirade against the Dalit icon’s government in UP on implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme at a time when the Congress was all set to turn corruption as one of its major poll-planks against the ruling BSP in the northern state.

Ramesh’s first letter to Mayawati on October 24 last had evoked strong reaction from the BSP supremo, who had sent a reply to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh directly, rubbishing the Union Rural Development Minister’s allegations on irregularities in the implementation of the MGNREGS in the state.

Mayawati had termed Ramesh’s letter as politically motivated and accused Ramesh of pursuing a “pre-conceived” agenda.

Ramesh retaliated with a 14-page letter dated November 14, which contained specific instances of irregularities in the MGNREGS implementation in as many as seven districts – Balrampur, Gonda, Mahoba, Sonbhadra, Kushinagar, Mirzapur and Sant Kabir Nagar – of the state. The letter also listed instances of inaction by the state government to curb corruption or initiate proceedings against errant officials.

“If the state government wants to act honestly and send a message to the people that it does not anyway want to shield the embezzlers who have siphoned off public money from the scheme, then I feel that you should ask for a CBI probe in these districts,” Ramesh wrote to Mayawati.

The Union minister reminded Mayawati of her comments to the media on March 30, 2010, when she had announced that the state government would initiate actions against corrupt officials of the state. He pointed out that the UP chief minister had that day promised to suspend the chief development officer of Gonda district of the state, Raj Bahadur, who was found involved in irregularities. But, he added, no action had been initiated against him although 19 months had passed since then.

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