Rejecting Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's charge that his demand for Central Bureau of Investigation probe into Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act implementation was "politically motivated", Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday said he would not hesitate to recommend similar investigation even in Congress-ruled states.
Reacting to Mayawati's letter to the prime minister accusing Ramesh of having a pre-conceived agenda and arriving at conclusions without taking cognisance of steps taken by her government, he stressed there were "deliberate instances" of embezzlement funds in the Bahujan Samaj Party ruled state and "overwhelming" evidence against officials.
"There is no politics involved. My letter is based on report of NLMs (National Level Monitors) and SQM (State Quality Monitor) who found embezzlement of funds. There are instances of deliberate misuse of MGNREGA funds (in some districts)," Ramesh said.
Asked whether he would recommend CBI probe if independent agencies found irregularities in the implementation of the United Progressive Alliance Government's flagship programme in Congress-ruled states, the minister said, "100 per cent. If there is a need for CBI probe, I will recommend."
Ramesh said he would soon write to Rajasthan government where "some collectors have been found guilty of embezzlement of (MGNREGA) funds.
"I am not taking action based on political report. NLMs and SQM are independent people. There is absolutely no politics in it."
The minister pointed out that the SQM appointed by UP government has found irregularities in implementation of MGNREGA in the four districts of Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Kushinagar and Sant Kabeernagar and the Uttar Pradesh administration ignored it.
The minister also said that he has asked for a performance audit of MGNREGA by the CAG in 12 states including four Congress-ruled states.
"CAG is doing performance audit of NREGA in 12 states. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Gujarart, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal," he said.