The CBI probe into the allegations of corruption in implementation of rural job scheme in Uttar Pradesh will continue as Supreme Court Friday rejected the state government’s plea against high court order directing preliminary enquiry in 65 districts.
As the Uttar Pradesh government assailed high court order saying it was tantamount to roving inquiry, the apex court bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice N.V. Ramana said: “If everything is in order, then why are you afraid of CBI probe?”
The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court Jan 27 had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file regular cases into the allegation of corruption in respect of seven districts and hold preliminary inquiry in remaining 65 districts of the state.” Uttar Pradesh has 75 districts.
The seven districts in respect of which regular cases would be filed include Mirzapur, Balrampur, Sonbhadra, Gonda, Kushinagar, Sant Kabir Nagar and Mahoba.
Appearing for Uttar Pradesh government, senior counsel U.U. Lalit assailed the high court pointing to the “intensity and enormity” of the investigation under taken by the state police.
Lalit told the apex court that following investigations in the acts of wrongdoings in seven districts, police registered 475 FIRs resulting in action against 460 state government officials and 208 sent to jail.
“When so much of material has come from seven districts then why not (look into the implementation of MNREGA) in other districts,” observed Chief Justice Sathasivam.
“Seven districts are on one footing and other 68 on the other footing,” Lalit said adding that a roving inquiry could not be ordered mere on the basis of a letter by a minister.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi described the cases as “politically” foisted and said that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act provides that the central government could order a CBI probe if there are allegations of irregularities in the implementation of the scheme.
Rohtagi sought to know why the central government empowered to order a CBI probe was not extending its powers and the high court acting on a latter by a minister.
Dismissing the plea by Uttar Pradesh government, Chief Justice Sathasivam said: “I come from rural background. This is a good scheme. If you have nothing to hide then why you are resisting the high court order.”