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Central team to probe job plan graft

New Delhi, Nov. 10: The Union rural development ministry will send a team to Jharkhand to investigate gross financial irregularities in implementing Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in three districts, as alleged by Godda MP Nishikant Dubey.

A decision to this effect was taken today after Dubey, a BJP MP at that, met rural development minister Jairam Ramesh and demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter.

The team, likely to comprise several senior officials of the ministry, could visit the state as early as Tuesday.

Dubey first took up the matter in September when he sent a list of fake beneficiaries in Godda, Dumka and Deoghar to chief minister Arjun Munda and Ramesh with documentary evidence. Following a local probe, an FIR was lodged against a few state officials.

Speaking to The Telegraph after meeting Ramesh, Dubey said: “I have been demanding a CBI inquiry into the scam as various officials, influential people and local politicians are involved. There are thousands of cases where bank employees, teachers and other well-to do people have acquired job cards under the scheme by using fraudulent means. Crores of rupees are being siphoned of while those who should have benefited from the plan are starving.”

According to sources, following the demands raised by the MP, Ramesh wrote to the state government twice — on October 9 and October 22 — directing thorough investigations into the allegations.

“Dubey informs me that while this is one specific case of gross irregularity, there are many other instances in Godda, Deoghar and Dumka. I am writing to request you to please order an investigation and take action immediately because the charges Dubey has levelled are very serious and could call into question the future of MGNREGA in Jharkhand,” read the first letter.

As there was no response to the letter, Ramesh wrote again, asking for the state’s concurrence to order a CBI inquiry into the matter and also demanded an action-taken report. The government, however, chose to ignore the direction, following which the ministry decided to conduct a probe on its own.