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Govt to probe Mangalore rice scam

Karnataka government decided also to set up the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the alleged diversion of 17,000 tonnes of rice received by the state under Food for Work programme of the Centre.

The scam was broke out four year ago during the Congress rule in the State and NDA Government at the Centre. The probe is likely to embarrass the Congress leaders since the scam occurred in Mangalore in 2004 during the S.M. Krishna Government.The CoD which investigated the scam filed "B" report (no case report) before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Mangalore last year and the session court set aside the report, Home Minister V.S. Acharya told reporters here on Tuesday.

The session court in April last had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the issue, but the CBI declined to conduct the probe citing "resource crunch" as reason, Dr Acharya said.Out of a total of 14.5 lakh tonnes that was allotted to the State under the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), 17,000 tonnes of rice was illegally diverted.

After a major investigation was launched by the Karnataka Corps of Detectives (CoD) into the massive diversion and export of rice earmarked for drought-relief programmes in Karnataka in 2004, a total of 28 arrests have been made by the police in the case. The investigation has nevertheless unearthed what could be one of the biggest corruption scandals of the S.M. Krishna government, and a shocking case of private profiteering directly off the entitlements of the poor.

The investigation has thus far exposed what the police sleuths call "the tip of the iceberg", namely, the diversion of 17,000 tonnes of rice - the rough equivalent of 34 lakh person days of work - out of a total of 14.5 lakh tonnes that was allotted to the State under the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY).Allegations of corruption in and mismanagement of drought-relief schemes, including the SGRY, were made repeatedly against the Krishna regime by the political Opposition and some sections of the media.

The State had been declared drought-affected for three out of the five years of the Krishna government's tenure. However, in the absence of concrete proof of corruption, these charges were dismissed by the then government as "politically motivated".

Source: Mangalorean


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