Congress party MLA from Anklav, Amit Chavda, and local Congress leaders have filed a PIL in Gujarat High Court accusing Union Minister Smriti Irani of illegally using Member of Parliament Local Area Development Funds (MPLAD) in violation of the guidelines for their use.
They have also urged the court to direct the state government and the Centre to recover the sum from all those responsible, including Irani.
Further, they have also demanded an FIR against the minister and a high-level inquiry into the alleged corruption.
The PIL states that spot inspections by the district authorities and the special auditor reflected that the works awarded to the cooperative had remained incomplete, however, funds were released in favour of it.
The PIL also mentioned that the work contracts, though many of them were valued at more than Rs 5 lakh, were awarded to the cooperative without proper formal tendering.
The government reports say that the contracts were awarded at the minister’s behest and payment was made without raising questions about the procedure, the petitioners submitted before the HC.
The petitioners, according to a Times of India report, also submitted that Irani “through fraud and complete subterfuge has misappropriated and misused large scale of funds and grants received under MPLAD for public welfare”.
They claimed that Irani insisted on awarding contracts for development projects in Maghrol—which she has adopted under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY)—to one Sharda Majoor Kamdar Sahkari Mandli.
This, petitioners allege, clearly violates the norm that contracts worth more than Rs 50 lakh cannot be awarded to one group under the PMLAD scheme.
This cooperative got work contracts worth Rs 1.23 crore and even though it did not complete the projects, money was has already been paid to it. This continued from 2014-15 to 2016-17 and the alleged misappropriation has been reported by the CAG and the district collector, informed the petitioners’ advocate, Anand Yagnik.
Gujarat high court on Wednesday sought a reply from the state government, by next week, to explain alleged misappropriation of local area development funds for development projects in Maghrol village in central Gujarat.
Irani has adopted Maghrol to make it a “model village”.