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CBI books officials involved in Rs 1,000 cr scam during ex-CM Raman Singh's tenure

CBI books officials involved in Rs 1,000 cr scam during ex-CM Raman Singhs tenure

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday registered a case against unidentified officials of the Raman Singh government in Chhatisgarh in connection with a Rs 1,000 crore rehabilitation scam, officials here said. They added that the officials had allegedly siphoned the funds from the State Resource Centre and the Physical Referral Rehabilitation Centre of the state government for over a decade.

The amount was siphoned off over a decade through sham transactions, the CBI alleged, adding that about 11 senior officers of the state are under the scanner.

The State Resource Centre (SRC), set up in 2004, was given the mandate to set up and operate Physical Referral Rehabilitation Centres (PRRCs) for the welfare of physically disabled people, the officials said. But no tangible activity or recruitment process was undertaken for the PRRCs and it is alleged that the institutions were only running on papers, they said.

It is alleged in a PIL that some people were shown as employees even when some of them were working in other departments, the officials said. The SRC allegedly kept withdrawing money from the exchequer for the payment for PRRC employees when no one was actually paid, they said, adding that many payments were allegedly made in cash, thereby, avoiding banking transactions. On October 1, 2018, the Chhattisgarh government, under then chief minister Raman Singh, had admitted in a submission that there was no precise information available at the PRRC regarding withdrawal of salary for payment to the employees, the high court had noted in its order directing a CBI probe.

The CBI has taken over the probe in the case after the Chhattisgarh High Court ordered the central agency to do so. The finance department was requested for conducting an audit only after filing of the writ petition in 2018, a bench of justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Parth Prateem Sahu had noted.

"In the said audit irregular and illegal withdrawal of cash has been, prima facie, proved. Thus the allegation of the petitioner about the financial irregularity has been, prima facie, admitted in the state''s memo of submission. The state has issued show cause notices to some of the employees, but no further action has been taken," the bench said.

The report along with submission memo of the state partially admits of certain financial irregularities. However, no serious attempt has been made to unearth and find out who siphoned the amount, it said.

The petitioner has alleged that the SRC is a society whereas PRRCs are government entities, making it impossible and questionable as to how the society manages a government department, the bench noted.

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