CBI Director AP Singh, after receiving the notification of the Union Government’s Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), has formed the SIT, which is to be headed by a senior Joint Director of the Central agency. Sources said Singh has directed the SIT to begin its job with immediate effect.
NREGS irregularities have taken place in Odisha’s six most backward districts of Balangir, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Nuapada and Rayagada, which comprise the KBK belt known for its hunger deaths. Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS), which had conducted a survey in various districts, focused its attention on these districts.
The CEFS filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court pointing out serious irregularities in the utilisation of NREGS funds allocated by the Centre for the State. The apex court directed the Union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to allow the CBI for a detailed probe into the matter.
After the MoRD sought consent of the Government of Odisha, the latter issued a notification consenting to a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the six districts pinpointed in a PIL filed in the Supreme Court. Once the MoRD received the consent, it wanted a detailed notification by the DoPT.
The DoPT on May 2 notified that the CBI would investigate the alleged large-scale irregularities, misappropriation and diversion of the Central Government funds allocated to the State during 2006-07 for 100 villages of the six KBK districts.
The SIT would find out any attempt, abatement and conspiracy in relation to or in connection with the alleged offences committed in the course of the same transaction or arising out of the same facts, said CBI sources. In the meantime, CBI Joint Director OP Galhotra is in touch with the State Chief Secretary BK Patnaik in the matter, said sources in the State Government.