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Aug 12, 2013 at 10:26pm IST

Reply on MNREGA irregularities: SC tells UP Govt

New Delhi: The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that there has been large-scale violation in the implementation of MNREGA in Uttar Pradesh for which CBI probe has been sought by an NGO.

The Bench asked the UP government to respond to the affidavit within six weeks.

Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising told a Bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai that details of the violation have been documented in the affidavit filed by the Centre.

Reply on MNREGA irregularities: SC tells UP Govt

Reply on MNREGA irregularities: SC tells UP Govt

The ASG said the money which is released from the central fund was not reaching the workers and there were irregularities on the construction aspect.

She said it was for the state government to take a call on the issue of the CBI probe as the Centre on its own cannot direct investigation by the agency.

"We have written to the Uttar Pradesh government and no reply has come," the ASG said.

The state government said it did not have a copy of the Centre's affidavit and needed time to respond to the irregularities mentioned in its affidavit.

Earlier last year, the court had directed the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to produce relevant records before it.

"The records so produced shall contain reports that have been submitted by the National Level Monitoring Committee to the ministry concerned," the court had said.

The court has been hearing the issue of effective implementation of the rural job guarantee scheme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) since 2007 when the NGO, Centre for Environment and Food Security, had filed the petition in this regard.

The Bench had first taken the allegation of irregularities in Odisha and later the NGO had filed an

application claiming that despite receiving investigation reports and intimations from the Rural Development Ministry about the lapses, there is an "apparent indifference on the part of the state government of UP".

"After receipt of a large number of complaints, the central government had reached a conclusion that the CBI investigation is necessary in the case of implementation of the MNREGA in the state of Uttar Pradesh," the NGO said.

"In this regard, the Ministry of Rural Development (nodal agency for implementation of the  MNREGA) has written twice to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister requesting that the state government should order a CBI investigation. The UP government rejected the said request," the NGO said in its application.

The Bench on May 12, 2011 had ordered a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in implementing the rural job guarantee scheme in Odisha.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the Odisha government, said CBI had completed its probe on February 13, 2012 and "hardly found faults with the working of the Act".

However, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said a regular case has to be registered by the CBI as there has been fault by the bureaucrats.

Bhushan said there was a need for one general direction that will go a long way in putting the things on right track as most of the states are not following the guidelines of the Centre for the proper implementation of the scheme.

The Bench said it will hear all the matters on the issue on September 18 and after going through previous orders and records pass the order.

The court had ordered CBI probe into alleged lapses in implementation of MNREGA in Odisha on the basis of survey reports provided by the NGO, CAG and the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD).

The irregularities had been detected in the districts of Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj, Rayagada, Bhawanipatna, Koraput and Malakangiri of Odisha, where there was misappropriation of

funds between 53 per cent and 88 per cent, the reports had said.

The Bench had asked the CBI to conduct a free and fair investigation.