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Chhattisgarh government gives approval for prosecution of two IAS officers

RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh government on Monday gave its approval for the prosecution of two Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, for their alleged role in the Public Distribution System (PDS) scam, on the charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988. 

“The state government has accorded sanction for prosecution of the two IAS officers Dr Alok Shukla and Anil Tuteja under IPC section 109 for abetment, 120 (b) for criminal conspiracy, 420 cheating and section 409 criminal breach of trust by public servant. Sanction for prosecution was granted under section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 after the recommendation was sent to the government of India. Power for granting sanction for prosecution vests with the centre,” a government spokesman said.

Former legislator Virendra Pandey, who was earlier a member of the BJP, had moved the Apex Court seeking a court monitored probe into the PDS scam. “The Supreme Court today adjourned the hearing for a further date for want of submission of few more documents,” Pandey said.

State's Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had earlier sent notices to senior IAS officers Dr Alok Shukla and Anil Tuteja for their alleged role in the PDS rice scam. While Shukla was the food secretary, Tuteja headed the Civil Supplies Corporation Limited when the ACB raided its offices across the state and unearthed the scam. At present, Shukla is Principal Secretary Health and Tuteja heads the Panchayat department.

The allegations against both the IAS officers are that they were among those top government functionaries who had figured as alleged scam beneficiaries in documents recovered from Tuteja’s PA Girish Sharma. The ACB had earlier said that the corporation allowed rice millers to supply poor quality PDS rice to the government and received massive commission for them. This commission was then distributed through the entire hierarchy of the government functionaries.

While the ACB had swiftly named and arrested junior employees, senior officers remained elusive, promoting Congress to accuse the BJP government of shielding political bigwigs and top bureaucrats in the PDS scam. The Opposition Congress had also stepped up pressure on the Raman Singh government demanding a CBI probe into the scam, alleging that state level investigating agencies cannot do a fair probe.

Raids by the state’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB) in March at the offices of Civil Supplies Corporation and the recovery of cash worth Rs 4-crore in the drawers of the ‘babus’ exposed the massive corruption in the scheme. The latter were caught in the process of distributing and forwarding the parcels of the ‘monthly’ shares to a list of names, believed to be that of the beneficiaries. The recovered diaries and pen drives included names of the top officials and politicians.