Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat on Wednesday ordered a judicial probe into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegation that the state government has misused the relief fund meant for the 2013 floods, which killed over 5,000 people.
Findings of the probe would be an embarrassment for the BJP, Rawat told mediapersons without naming BJP leader Vijay Bahuguna, who was the state’s chief minister when the disaster took place. Bahuguna continued in the post till early 2014.
Addressing a gathering in the state capital on Tuesday, Modi alleged misappropriation of the relief fund by the state government in 2015. He cited a response to an RTI query in 2015, which reportedly stated that government officials had spent the fund on entertainment.
Rawat said though a “high-level probe” led by then Uttarakhand chief secretary N Ravishankar in 2015 did not find any such misappropriation of funds, he ordered the fresh investigation by a retired high court judge because Modi had cast doubts on his government.
“We decided on the judicial probe because the Prime Minister alleged that the disaster relief fund for the 2013 deluge was misappropriated. I am ready to order a probe into all the alleged irregularities if the BJP comes up with such a demand in writing,” the chief minister said.
“The judicial probe will involve two points of reference – if there was any administrative negligence, and whether there has been any misuse of relief funds,” he added.
A senior government official said on the condition of anonymity that if anything incriminating comes out through the probe, it would only be an embarrassment for Bahuguna and the BJP in the run-up to the approaching assembly elections.