Saturday, April 20, 2024

Massive corruption on Madhya Pradesh CM’s watch, finds state’s own auditor

A confidential 36-page report by the Madhya Pradesh Accountant General has found large-scale fraud, irregularities in the identification of beneficiaries, production, distribution and quality control of the ambitious free food scheme for schoolchildren in the state.

The report was accessed exclusively by NDTV.

The trucks that six manufacturing plants or firms claimed to have used to have transported 1,125.64 metric tons of rations costing ₹ 6.94 crore, were found registered as motorcycles, cars, autos and tankers upon verification from the transport department records, NDTV reported.

While the School Education Department had estimated the number of out-of-school girls in Madhya Pradesh at 9,000 in 2018-19, the Women and Child Development (WCD) Department, without conducting any baseline survey, estimated their number at 36.08 lakh, according to the auditor’s report.

“During the audit, it was found that at 49 Anganwadi centres in eight districts, only three out-of-school girls were registered. However, under the same 49 Aanganwadi centres, the WCD department listed 63,748 girls and claimed to have helped 29,104 of them during 2018-21. This indicates the extent of data manipulation, leading to the falsified distribution of rations worth ₹ 110.83 crore,” read NDTV report.

The rations manufacturing plants were also found reporting production way beyond their rated and permitted capacity.

When raw material needed and electricity consumed were compared to the actual rations production, it was found ₹ 58 crore of it had been fudged, according to the auditor’s report.

Six plants in Madhya Pradesh’s Badi, Dhar, Mandla, Rewa, Sagar and Shivpuri claimed to have supplied 821 metric tons of rations , costing ₹ 4.95 crore, despite not having as much available with them in the first place, the news-channel reported.

In eight districts, Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs) received over 97,000 metric tons of rations from plants, however, they sent out just about 86,000 metric tons to Aanganwadis, it stated.

The Madhya Pradesh government is yet to respond to a request by NDTV for a comment on the report.

The Women and Child Development Department has been under the supervision of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan himself since the resignation of BJP leader Imarti Devi in 2020 following a defeat in by-elections.

Responding to the report, senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh said the BJP government is setting records of corruption everyday.

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