MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Thursday, 29 February 2024

Mamata Banerjee will be held for diversion of funds under mid-day-meal scheme: Suvendu Adhikari

The BJP leader said after three block development officers (BDOs), who had allegedly diverted the money from the mid-day meal scheme, the chief minister would be arrested as she had distributed different benefits and financial assistance using the cash

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 05.12.23, 06:59 AM
Suvendu Adhikari and other BJP MLAs take out the protest march on Red Road on Monday.

Suvendu Adhikari and other BJP MLAs take out the protest march on Red Road on Monday. Pradip Sanyal

Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari on Monday said chief minister Mamata Banerjee would be arrested in connection with the alleged diversion of central funds allotted to the state under the Prime Minister Poshan (mid-day-meal) scheme for welfare measures.

Adhikari referred to three cases —apparently being probed by the CBI — which deal with the diversion of funds under the mid-day meal scheme and accused Mamata of using the money for different purposes.

ADVERTISEMENT

The BJP leader said after three block development officers (BDOs), who had allegedly diverted the money from the mid-day meal scheme, the chief minister would be arrested as she had distributed different benefits and financial assistance using the cash.

"The BDO of Hingalganj (North-24 Parganas) will be the first person to be arrested in connection with this scam as he bought blankets worth Rs 1.89 crore and those items were distributed by Mamata Banerjee. The BDO of Rampurhat (in Birbhum) will be the second to be arrested as she (Mamata) distributed cheques to the victims of the Bogtui massacre from the mid-day-meal funds. The third person to be arrested will be the BDO of Bhagabanpur I (in East Midnapore) who issued cheques to the families affected by the Coromandel Express accident, using the funds under the instruction of Mamata Banerjee. After these three, the queen of thieves, Mamata Banerjee, will be arrested," said Adhikari while addressing BJP workers during a protest rally on Red Road in Calcutta.

In November 2022, Mamata distributed hundreds of blankets to poor people in Hingalganj, a remote pocket of the Sunderbans. In April last year, the chief minister handed over cheques to family members of 10 persons who were killed in political violence in Birbhum's Bogtui. In June this year, she presented cheques to the next of kin of those killed in the train accident in Odisha's Balasore.

The BJP claimed that the money used in the distribution of the benefits in those three instances was sourced from the account of the mid-day meal scheme.

Adhikari's comment on the corruption in the mid-day meal scheme came on a day Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan claimed in the Parliament that the Bengal government was accused of misappropriating Rs 4,000 crore meant for PM Poshan.

"In PM Poshan Yojana or Mid-day-meal scheme, they (Bengal government) have misappropriated Rs 40,00 crore. The government of India has ordered a CBI probe into this connection. Everything will come out," Pradhan said in the Parliament.

A source in the BJP said the party wanted to create a narrative of corruption under the mid-day meal scheme as the chief minister was connected to that. The BJP had already pitched scandals to corner the Trinamul Congress government.

"The mid-day-meal scheme is the only one where the chief minister's name is connected. The party had earlier raised the same issue but Adhikari highlighted it after Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan's statement on the floor of the Parliament," said a BJP leader.

A senior state government official said the charge against Mamata would not stand as the government used the allotment for one scheme to fund other emergency needs. The question is whether the money was returned to the same account before the completion of a financial year.

"There is nothing wrong with using money from one fund and using it for emergency purposes. It will be a misappropriation only if the money is not returned to the account in time" said the official.

Trinamul leaders reminded Adhikari of the Narada visuals in which he was allegedly seen accepting money.

"The person who is shouting and accusing others of being thieves was the same man who was seen accepting cash... How can he call someone else a thief?" asked Trinamul national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.

The Bengal BJP on Monday intensified its attack on Mamata over the corruption inside and outside the Assembly. Wearing t-shirts printed with the tagline "Mamata Chor (Mamata is a thief)", Adhikari and around 60 BJP MLAs marched from the Assembly to the statue of B.R. Ambedkar, where the party organised a day-long protest.

Trinamul leader and state finance minister Chandrima Bhattacharya filed a complaint at Hare Street police station, accusing Adhikari and other BJP MLAs of dishonouring the chief minister by wearing such garments.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT