After a vigilance probe, five government officials, including a PCS officer, were booked for distribution of performance grant in violation of rules to 1123 gram panchayats of 31 districts in UP.
The officials have been booked under different sections of the IPC for forgery and conspiracy, according to the FIR registered in this connection.
In 2016, the selection process of gram panchayats began for performance grant under the 14th Finance Commission. Around Rs 70 million was to be distributed amongst more than 1700 panchayats, but the officials allegedly violated the rules in selection of panchayats.
As per the vigilance bureau’s complaint for registering the case at Aliganj police station, some officials prepared a list of beneficiary panchayats, overlooking the necessary requirements.
Police have booked then deputy director Girish Chandra Rajak, the then additional director Rajender Singh, including other officials of panchayat raj departments Keshav Singh, Shiv Kumar Patil and Ramesh Chander Yadav.
The state government had constituted a committee headed by the director, panchayati raj, to select village panchayats for allocation of the performance grant.
The committee had identified 1798 village panchayats for allocation of Rs 699.7529 crore grant during the 2016-17.
The selection panel met on March 21, 2017 and selected 1798 panchayats without necessary check. The probe suggested the panel ignored the mandatory recommendations of district panchayat officers of Agra, Barabanki, bareilly, Bulandshahar, Chandauli, Deoria, Etawah, Faizabad, Firozabad, Ghazipur, Gorakhpur, Hardoi, Kushinagar, Lucknow, maharajganj, Mathura, Mau, Mirzapur, Pratapgarh, Sant Kabir Nagar, Shamli, Sidharthnagar, Sonbhadra, Sultanpur, Unnao and Varanasi.
The numbers of panchayats selected by the panel here were different from what the district panchayats officials had sent, the vigilance probe suggested.
This prompted the state government to issue directives to the district magistrates on July 26 to ban any further use of the performance grant even though Rs 107 crore out of the Rs 699.75 crore had already been withdrawn by panchayats from their bank accounts by then.
The vigilance probe also revealed that the performance grant was allotted to a number of panchayats without the district panchayati raj officers’ mandatory recommendations and audit of the panchayats concerned.
The government in 2017 had suspended 12 officials, including additional director (administration) Rajendra Singh, for alleged irregularities in allotment of the performance grant to the panchayats.