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After Rampur,stink of toilet scam in Bareilly,Meerut

After Rampur,the role of Sulabh International and at least 13 other NGOs is under scanner in the construction of toilets in Bareilly and Meerut districts.

Written by SURBHI KHYATI | Lucknow | Published: July 3, 2012 4:04:51 am

After Rampur,the role of Sulabh International and at least 13 other NGOs is under scanner in the construction of toilets in Bareilly and Meerut districts.

The State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) has ordered inquiries in these districts after getting complaints of embezzlement of funds meant for construction of toilets under the integrated low-cost sanitation scheme sponsored by the Centre.

Already,Sulabh International and four other NGOs have been named in an FIR lodged in Rampur after an inquiry found that many of the toilets that these agencies had built did not exist. Several officials,including former SUDA Director Chintamani and Finance Controller V K Srivastava,were also named in the FIR.

On Monday,the Allahabad High Court dismissed a petition filed by Chintamani for quashing the FIR,which was lodged on June 23 under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant),420 (cheating and dishonesty),467,468 and 471 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code and section 7/13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In its order,the bench of Justices Devendra Pratap Singh and Anurag Kumar said there can be no interference with the investigation,nor can an order staying arrest be issued in a case unless “cognizable offence is not ex-facie discernible from the allegations contained in the FIR” or there is any “statutory restriction operating on the power of the police to investigate a case”.

The court said prima facie it cannot be said that there is no cognizable offence made out in the FIR and,therefore,there is no ground for quashing the FIR or staying the arrest of the petitioner.

The integrated low-cost sanitation scheme was launched in 2009 in the state under the Eleventh Five Year Plan. As much as Rs 240 crore was spent to replace dry toilets (uthao-bahao toilets) with pour-flush toilets in urban areas.

The scheme was implemented by SUDA,and a total of 2.4 lakh toilets were to be built in 53 districts. The cost of each toilet was Rs 10,000,of which 10 per cent was borne by the beneficiary,while 75 per cent was p aid by the Government of India and the remaining 15 per cent by the state government.

In the inquiry in Rampur,it has been found that of the 9,140 toilets built,as many as 2,984 did not exist with an embezzlement of Rs 2.98 crore. A similar inquiry was ordered in Shahjahanpur where about 10 per cent of the toilets have been found missing. An inquiry is under way in Hardoi.

The inquiries in Bareilly and Meerut will begin on Tuesday and Wednesday. “Bareilly is one of our largest districts,with more than 17,000 toilets constructed in 15 town areas,four nagarpalika parishads and one corporation by at least 14 NGOs,including Sulabh International,” said an official.

In Meerut,the inquiry would be conducted in Sardhana area where 1,200 toilets were constructed,he added.

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