Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Probe riot relief scam: HC

Independent Inquiry Into Disbursement Of Relief Package Ordered 

 The Gujarat high court has directed the state government to conduct an independent inquiry to deal with the scam in the disbursement of relief to victims of the 2002 riots.
    A public-interest litigation (PIL) had been filed highlighting a scam to the tune of Rs 7 crore in granting of relief to the victims in Pandarwada of the Panchmahal district. On the basis of the PIL, the court has ordered an inquiry into the disbursement of compensation in the Khanpur block.
    In 2010, 14 government officials involved in the embezzlement — and 15 others from the taluka panchayat — were served with showcause notices, and departmental inquiry was initiated against them under the monitoring of the high court.
    A division bench has directed the criminal court concerned to speed up the process of trial against the accused and complete the proceedings in six months.
    According to certificates issued by talati-cum-mantris, victims eligible for compensation in Khanpur were 325 in 2002. But in 2009, when a special relief package was announced by the Centre, the number rose to 346.
    In 125 cases, financial assistance was awarded to ineligible or non-existent persons. The PIL also claimed that many of those who had actually suffered in the violence were not given any compensation, as their names did not figure in the list of riot-affected persons. Instead, some government officials and claimants connived to lay false claims.
    A case was highlighted in which a couple — Kharadi Gulam Gani and his wife Jebun Gulam Gani of Pandarwada — received cheques issued to 27 persons. The value of the cheques was Rs 92,12,700. Though the cheques were required to be deposited in a nationalized bank, they were encashed through private firms which were paid huge commissions.