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Ballia scam: State yet to help out CBI

Two months ago,the Central Bureau of Investigation registered cases in the state’s multi-crore food grin scam. But the agency is yet to begin probe.

Two months ago,the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered cases in the state’s multi-crore food grain scam. But the agency is yet to begin probe.

Reason: The Home Department and the DGP Headquarters are yet to provide the extra hands — inspectors and sub-inspectors — the agency sought to help out with the investigation. On November 1,the CBI had registered eight cases in the Ballia scam and one in Lakhimpur Kheri. Eight CDO rank officers and four PCS officials were named in the Ballia case.

In Kheri,the agency has named 10 SDMs and 90 others. The estimated amount of embezzlement was over Rs 7 crore in Kheri. The amount in Ballia is yet to be known,the DIG said.

AK Sharma,Superintendent of Police,CBI Anti-Corruption wing (Lucknow),said the agency has been writing to the state home department since the cases were registered. The department had deputed 15 policemen to be attached with the CBI team. “But not one of them has presented himself at the CBI office so far,” he said.

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The kind of investigation required in the scam requires more manpower “and we do not have sufficient staff,” Sharma said. The agency has 1,266 files to scrutinise before it can even begin probe.

“It is going to be over two months and we are still collecting documents,” he said. “The process may well take two more months without the state government’s assistance.”

The agency does not need the extra men for investigation. “They will help us collect documents and ensure that the accused and the witnesses were available for the recording of their statements,” Sharma said.

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On his part,Home Secretary Javeed Ahmed said: “We have already issued strict instructions to the DGP Headquarters to depute the required number of policemen. Now it is the responsibility of the concerned section at the DGP office to ensure that those policemen are relieved from their current duties.”

Vijay Singh,the IG,Establishment,at the DGP Headquarters,who is also secretary to the Chief Minister,was not available for comments.

The cases
The offences date back to 2002-05. The Ballia scam relates to the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojna. In Kheri,an embezzlement racket took place in the Below Poverty Line distribution scheme. Both schemes are Centrally-funded.

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The investigation into Ballia scam was conducted earlier by the Economic Offences Wing of UP Police. The investigation for Kheri was conducted by the Special Investigation Team. The probes revealed that certain officials falsified documents to show distribution of cash and foodgrain under the two schemes. The police had registered 51 cases in Ballia — which included cases against the gram panchayat,block and the district panchayat. In Kheri,66 cases were lodged.

The CBI sorted out eight cases from Ballia and one from Kheri.

First published on: 17-01-2009 at 12:49:52 am
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