Room for scam in Centre's grant for homeless | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Room for scam in Centre's grant for homeless

Embezzlement of the Centre's money for the homeless has been caught at Sahari village in Dera Baba Nanak constituency. The Gurdaspur administration is in the dock since this bungling in the Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) has come to light during spot inspection of the vigilance monitoring committee.

chandigarh Updated: Oct 14, 2012 00:25 IST
Vishal Sally

Embezzlement of the Centre's money for the homeless has been caught at Sahari village in Dera Baba Nanak constituency.

The Gurdaspur administration is in the dock since this bungling in the Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) has come to light during spot inspection of the vigilance monitoring committee. The authorities failed to present any beneficiary, while the records shows the entire Rs 35.10 lakh for 78 poor families distributed.

There was direct allotment of the entire amount to the village sarpanch, who is from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), while rules require the IAY money to be paid into the bank accounts of beneficiaries.

Local member of parliament Partap Singh Bajwa, and district Congress president Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, were on the inspection team that uncovered the scam. On Randhawa's complaint, Bajwa and additional deputy commissioner Rakesh Kumar had accompanied him to the village and asked the sarpanch to show them any family that had built its house under the IAY. He could not.

The district administration failed to give any satisfactory reply to how the sarpanch was able to misuse the money. Briefing the media from the spot of inquiry, Randhawa, Congress legislator from Dera Baba Nanak, said that in January 2012, the union government had released Rs 35.10 lakh as grant for 78 poor families of Sahari village for the building of houses.

The grant was released on the condition that the district administration would pay the entire money into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. However, it went to the sarpanch, Varinder Singh. Even nine months on, no house was built at the village, but the sarpanch claimed to have distributed all sum.

It is alleged that the sarpanch also transferred Rs 90,000 from the grant to one of his cousins, Ajit Singh, who lived in a well-furnished house for the past many years. Additional deputy commissioner Rakesh Kumar has agreed to examine the case.

About a month ago, Akali leader Gulzar Singh Ranike had to resign as cabinet minister amid charges of embezzlement of the Border Area Development Fund and discretionary grants in Ranike village. The Punjab vigilance bureau is examining a similar bungling in the Attari constituency, while the Congress wants the case moved to the central bureau of investigation (CBI).