GOVERNOR BALRAM Jakhar has asked Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to put the Indore’s multi-crore social security scam before the Cabinet and fix responsibility against the guilty, according to Raj Bhawan sources.
Jakhar has issued the directive exercising powers under Article 167 of the Constitution that empowers the Governor to ask the State Government to take up an issue of public interest before the Cabinet.
The Government is learnt to have acquiesced in the directive. The matter is likely to be put before the Cabinet soon. Confirming receipt of the letter, sources in the Mantralaya said the directive has created ripples in the Government as a senior Cabinet minister and some top officials figured in the scam.
The Governor has also sought to know if the scam infringed upon the Constitutional right to livelihood of those deprived of the social security pension.
Dr Jakhar had sought information on the scam following the direction of the Special Court, Indore to prosecute the then Mayor Kailash Vijayvargia who is now the Cabinet minister.
However, the State Government told the Governor that the case was not fit for prosecution. The Government took similar stand when the Union Rural Development Ministry sought details about the scam in August this year. Joint Secretary in the ministry, Neelam Sahni, had written a letter to the State Government in this connection.
Sources said despite having all information about the scam, the State Government is dithering on action against those involved in it, pleading that the matter is sub judice.
Even the physical verification conducted by the State Government last year confirmed that out of over 12 lakh beneficiaries under the Social Security Scheme in the State, about 1.58 lakh ineligible people had been getting its benefit for years.
The annual loss due to this was estimated at Rs 30 crore. Given the fact that the last physical verification of beneficiaries was done in 2001, it is estimated that minimum Rs 100 crore was distributed to ineligible people in the State.
Indore’s then Commissioner Ashok Das had also held the Mayor-in-Council of the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) responsible for the ‘anomalies’ in the social security pension in his report.
After scrutinising the records, the committee headed by Das reported that against the established norms of distributing pension either from nationalised banks or through money order, the IMC distributed pension money through some cooperative societies.
During Vijayvargia’s tenure as Mayor, 24,014 ineligible people — over 33 per cent of total beneficiaries — were given pension benefits.