WB: HC seeks affidavit from govt on PIL alleging MGNREGA irregularities

Speaking on behalf of the Union government, a party in the PIL, additional solicitor general Ashoke Chakraborty alleged that the allegations are serious since improper utilisation of funds under Centrally-sponsored schemes amounts to violations of the Indian Constitution.

Kolkata: A division bench of Calcutta High Court on Monday sought an affidavit from the West Bengal government in connection with a PIL filed by the leader of opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, alleging irregularities and corruption in the implementation of two Centrally-sponsored schemes.

The two schemes in question are Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Pradhan Mantri Aavas Yojna (PMAY).

The matter came up for hearing before the division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj.

Adhikari’s counsel Soumya Bhattacharya argued that there had been severe defalcation of funds under MGNREGA scheme in West Bengal.

“The Rural Development Ministry has informed that crores of rupees under MGNREGA have been diverted by furnishing forged documents. There have been severe discrepancies in the master-role of the job-card holders,” he argued.

Speaking on behalf of the Union government, a party in the PIL, additional solicitor general Ashoke Chakraborty alleged that the allegations are serious since improper utilisation of funds under Centrally-sponsored schemes amounts to violations of the Indian Constitution.

However, state advocate general Soumendra Nath Mookherjee refuted the allegations and claimed that it is a politically-motivated PIL.

“The petitioner is a BJP leader and the leader of opposition. The state government needs some time to present its argument in the form of an affidavit,” Mookherjee told the court.

After hearing all the parties, the division bench directed the state government to file the affidavit before the next hearing on December 20. The bench also directed the additional solicitor general to submit detailed views of the Rural Development Ministry on this count.

Recently, Adhikari had written to the Union government to get the ‘corruption’ in implementation of MGNREGA scheme in West Bengal probed by any central agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Enforcement Directorate (ED). He had also asked for an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in the matter.

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