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Naveen faces flak over fund facts

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 6: The Congress today sought to move a privilege motion against Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik for “misleading” the Assembly regarding release of central funds under security related expenditures.

Raising the issue, Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan told the Assembly that the chief minister had given a “false and untruthful” statement during the discussion on demand for grants of the home department on December 10 last.

Harichandan even quoted Naveen who had said: “The state government has already spent Rs 323.39 crore upto 2012-13 from its own resources under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme. But it is a matter of regret that the Government of India has not reimbursed Rs 179.91 crore in spite of several requests from the state government.”

Under the SRE scheme, the Union home ministry reimburses expenditures that the state government make for anti-Maoist operations.

Disputing the chief minister’s statement, the Congress leader said that according to the home ministry, Rs 111.62 crore was admissible for reimbursement under the SRE scheme for 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13. The ministry had released Rs 102.85 crore and reimbursed Rs 14.61 crore. Thus the total amount reimbursed to the state government as on November 30 last was Rs 117.46 crore against Rs 111.62 crore admissible for reimbursement, he said.

“So all reimbursement claims to Odisha government as per audit report have been settled except Rs 45.86 crore recommended for reimbursement,” said Harichandan.

“Being the chief minister in charge of the home department, he was fully aware of facts and figures and he had deliberately and knowingly misled the Assembly,” averred the Congress leader.

Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat said that he was examining the notice. Today, Amat rejected an adjournment motion moved by the Opposition on mining scam. Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh reiterated his demand for a CBI probe. BJP leader K.V. Singh Deo said the state government had written to the Centre stating that there was no necessity of a CBI probe into the scam as the state vigilance already seized of the case. But, the state vigilance was probing into alleged irregularities of only six mining companies.

“What about the irregularities of 90-odd companies,” he asked. Parliamentary affairs minister Kalpataru Das, senior BJD members Prafulla Chandra Ghadei and Amar Prasad Satpathy said the mining scam should not be discussed in the Assembly since the matter was sub judice and the M.B. Shah Commission report was yet to be placed in Parliament.


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