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Calcutta HC directs Purulia DM to probe MGNREGA fraud

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The Calcutta High Court directed the District Magistrate, Purulia to get the inquiry conducted under his supervision and take appropriate action against persons responsible for misappropriation of funds while implementing the project under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in Bero Gram Panchayat.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj disposed of a Public Interest Litigation filed by Saifuddin Sekh and others.

Pratip Kumar Chatterjee, the counsel for the petitioners, submitted that the project works have not been done and payments have been withdrawn in the name of those persons who have died. In this petition there is an allegation of forged signatures/LTIs on the cheque and fake measurement for the purpose of illegally withdrawing the money and misappropriating the public money.

Submission of the counsel for the petitioners is that as many as 23 complaints were made in this regard to the competent authority including the  District Magistrate, Purulia but no action has been taken.

The counsel for the State has informed that the inquiry has been initiated by the Block  Development Officer by forming four-member inquiry committee.

Disputing the same, the counsel for the petitioners has submitted that the committee has not even received the complaints.

In the aforesaid circumstances, the Bench is of the opinion that the inquiry should be conducted under the supervision of the  District Magistrate, Purulia and the petitioners should be given an opportunity to produce relevant materials.

Hence, the Bench disposed of the present petition by directing the  District Magistrate, Purulia to get the inquiry conducted under his supervision and in the course of the said inquiry an opportunity of hearing be given to the petitioners. If in the inquiry the allegations are found to be correct, then the District Magistrate, Purulia  will take appropriate action against the persons responsible for misappropriation of funds, the Court directed.

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