Unidentified miscreants created fake accounts to swindle over Rs 30 lakh under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) scheme in Uttarakhand, an RTI application has revealed.
The fraud took place between 2008-09 and 2010-11 at Kotra Santur village in Dehradun district, around 10 km from the capital.
The MNREGA scheme, the previous UPA government’s flagship programme, was aimed at ensuring a minimum of 100 days’ paid employment for the rural unemployed.
Sahjaz Ali, a local villager who had sought information under the RTI Act, said that the scam could be worth over Rs two crore if funds for purchase and supply of building materials is taken into account.
“This figure is for only two years and for just one village. Imagine the quantum of money involved till 2014,” Ali
Documents obtained under the RTI said the scamsters used names of school students and even the wife of a serving army man to create the fake
Almost 150 of the total 170 names included in the muster roll never worked in the fields but wages were credited to their savings accounts at the local post office.
“I was shocked to learn that my name was included in MNREGA muster roll. I am not even aware that my account was created under the scheme in the local post office. I never worked under the scheme and did not receive any wage till date,” said Mayank Joshi, then a student and now a driver working with a local transporter.
Deepak Pal, who was a minor during this scam period, was also included in the roll though school records showed that he was attending classes at the same time.
The then village head Shivraj Pal, who was responsible for preparing muster roll for MNREGA works, said that his opponents in the village are trying to frame him for personal reasons.
“I did nothing wrong happened with regard to muster roll. I am being framed by my opponents,” Pal added.
Dehradun district panchayati raj development officer MM Khan said that the matter was investigated by him and report was presented to the district magistrate of Dehradun nearly three months ago.
“After visiting the spot and speaking to the villagers I submitted a report to the DM. I cannot say anything beyond this. I had also recommended muster roll audit by the district audit examination officer in the report,” Khan said.