The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has started investigations into alleged embezzlement of government funds in the Sripur Gram Panchayat (GP) in Ratua-II Block in Malda.
The Trinamul Congress Pradhan of the GP, Serena Bibi, has been accused of embezzling Rs 15 crore, an allegation denied so far by her husband. Following the development, the BJP in the district has demanded that all Trinamul-run gram panchayats should be investigated.
On the other hand, the district Trinamul Congress president, Abdur Rahim Boxi, said the party does not stand by anyone who is corrupt at the “personal level.” Sources said Ms Bibi allegedly misused funds meant for road construction, planting of trees, renovation of paver block cemetery and renovation of various other projects.
“The money was misused by allowing contract licenses in the name of her son and other relatives. A section of the residents of the area first approached the district administration against the GP Pradhan, but the locals were not happy with the investigations and approached the High Court. The CAG has started investigations into the corruption case on the directions of the High Court,” a source said.
According to the complainant, Congress leader Masud Alam, the CAG had started such investigations. “The accused will be punished as we have trust on the law and justice system,” he said. Some villagers have also raised their voice against the alleged corruption. “The panchayat chief looted all the money by awarding a contract in the name of his son and relatives without any work. This pradhan should be punished,” a local man said.
However, Mohabbat Ali, the husband of the panchayat chief, denied the allegations. He said, “A conspiracy is being hatched against her. The real truth will be revealed as the CAG is investigating the matter. The Congress and the BJP are behind the allegations.”
In this regard, Ujjwal Dutt, the BJP president of North Malda, said, “There should be investigations in all TMC-run gram panchayats. The BJP is not involved in any conspiracy. An investigation will reveal the real truth.” District TMC president Abdur Rahim Boxi, meanwhile, said, “The Trinamul Congress is running a transparent administration across the state. The party has nothing to do with anyone who is personally corrupt. The party will not stand by any corrupt person.”