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ED Raids Multiple Locations In Bengal Linked To MGNREGA Scam

by Web Desk
ED Raids Multiple Locations In Bengal Linked To MGNREGA Scam

In a first of its kind, the Enforcement Directorate carried out raids in multiple locations in West Bengal linked to alleged irregularities in MGNREGS funds. This is related to the ongoing probe into the alleged irregularities linked to funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MGNREGS).

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) party that has been staging a demonstration over the past five days against the Centre for freezing funds under MGNREGS and other schemes due to the state has called it political vendetta by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

ED Raids In At Least Six Locations Spanning Four Districts In The State

People aware of the ED raids said that were conducted in at least six locations that included suburban locations like Chinsurah, Berhampore, Jhargram, Chandannagar as well as Salt Lake spanning four districts of the state.

Notably, this is the first such raid that the federal agency has carried out linked to the alleged MGNREGA scam.

“Raids were carried out in the houses of serving and former government officials as well as panchayat members. This is related to allegations of irregularities in the MGNREGS funds,” an ED official said.

The Union government stopped funds under MGNREGS to West Bengal from March 2022 onwards as per provisions under Section 27 of the MGNREG Act, 2005 due to non-compliance of directives of the Centre.

“As per provision of the MGNREG Act, 2005 it is the responsibility of the state government to ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of the scheme. Also, according to the provision of the Act, if the state government is not fully successful in discharging its responsibility, then the Union government has the right to issue appropriate guidelines as well as stop the release of funds,” Union minister of state for rural development Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti told the Lok Sabha in August 2023.

West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has begun an extended demonstration in central Kolkata Friday onwards demanding release of central funds under various schemes including MGNREGS. The demonstration or dharna is now being carried on by different wings of the TMC.

Mamata Banerjee Has Announced Due Payment To 2.1 Million MGNREGA Workers By February 21

On Saturday, Banerjee announced that her government would ensure to pay the dues of 2.1 million MGNREGS workers, who have not received wages under the Centre’s 100-days of work scheme, by February 21.

“ED has been conducting search operations since morning. Just understand the chronology. On Monday, Suvendu Adhikari met various leaders in Delhi but he didn’t share any details. He only said that Bengal would watch what unfolded in the future. The BJP has deprived 2.1 million MGNREGS workers of their wages. Ever since Mamata Banerjee said that she would give the workers their rightful due, the BJP has become more active in its vengeful politics,” said Shashi Panja, Minister of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare to the media on Tuesday.

Suvendu Adhikari had met Union home minister Amit Shah at the latter’s Parliament office in Delhi on Tuesday. During the same trip, he also met Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and demanded a probe into the allegations made in the latest CAG report.

“I have lodged some complaints with Nirmala Sitharaman ji against the state administration. I urged the Union finance minister to initiate a probe into the alleged irregularities flagged by the CAG report. There should be some checks to bring in financial discipline. The state government is using central funds to pay electricity bills of its offices,” Adhikari told the media in Delhi on Monday. He added that the Union finance minister had assured to send a probe team.

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