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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

BDPO's bail rejected in MNREGA scam

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Patiala, July 03, 2014
First Published: 22:41 IST(3/7/2014) | Last Updated: 22:42 IST(3/7/2014)

The court of additional district and sessions judge Rajinder Aggarwal on Thursday rejected the bail application of Patran block development panchayat officer Malwinder Singh, who was booked in connection with embezzlement of funds in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

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The BDPO had applied for bail stating that all the material purchased by him has now reached villages.

During the hearing, the state strongly opposed the grant of bail by stating that the accused had committed embezzlement knowingly. Arguing the case for the state, public prosecutor DK Jain said the BDPO violated the entire procedure of the MNREGA to commit embezzlement. He neither involved local panchyats in the purchase of material nor took any sanction from the higher authorities to make bulk purchases, the prosecutor said. Besides, the payments were made in advance without receiving the material, which is against the service rules.

The court rejected the bail application after hearing the arguments.

Following an HT exposé on the MNREGA scam, Patran BDPO Malwinder Singh and his Samana counterpart Dinesh Vashisht were booked on the charges of corruption and cheating. Both were placed under suspension by rural development minister Sikandar Singh Maluka.

Ironically, the scam occurred in Samana constituency, represented by the then rural development minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, who was replaced by Maluka recently.

An inquiry found the BDPOs guilty of embezzling funds meant for MNREGA works by making purchases and releasing payments in advance, even as the material didn't reach villages.

The Patiala police have lodged two separate FIRs in the case. As per the FIRs, the BDPOs embezzled money in the purchase of the material for brick-lining the village streets, developing village ponds and other civic works under the job guarantee plan. They are charged with paying `5-crore advance amount for bricks, cement, sand and gravel, which has not reached the villages. 
 

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