The Chhattisgarh High Court has rejected the state government’s review petition against its earlier order directing the CBI to probe alleged misappropriation of funds worth nearly Rs 1,000 crore in the state social welfare department.
Citing ineffective action and improper examination by the state, the court upheld its earlier order. The advocate general, however, said the state was willing to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.
The bench of Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Parth Prateem Sahu last month ordered a CBI probe into the embezzlement of funds through a society formed by senior IAS officers. The order came on a petition by Kundan Singh Thakur. Thakur said in the plea that he was employed at a government self-help centre on contract basis when he found that he was also shown to be employed at Physical Rehabilitation Reference Centre (PRRC) under the Social Welfare Department. PRRC, which claims to have been involved in the construction of artificial limbs for persons with disabilities, does not exist, said the petition. The petition attached documents to show budgetary provision and release of amount for establishment of PRRC in Raipur district.
The bank accounts for PRRC were operated by a society through State Resource Centre (SRC) under Social Welfare Department, the plea said. “SRC established in 2004 is a society under provisions of the Chhattisgarh Society Registrikaran Adhiniyam, 1973, but has never been audited since,” the petition said.
In the order on review petition, the court said, “…we have referred the matter to CBI because the SRC was manned by officers at the level of Chief Secretary and despite direction by court the matter was not properly examined and effective action was not taken by the state authorities.”
Accusing the state of “doing nothing” to investigate the matter, the court justified handing over the case to CBI.
Advocate General Sateesh Chandra Verma said the state will challenge the decision in Supreme Court. “The court has said that since the officers involved were of the level of chief secretary, the CBI should investigate. We are going to challenge that,” he said.