GUWAHATI, Feb 8 - An internal inquiry team has been constituted to probe the irregularities worth several crores of rupees detected in the Employment Generation Mission and former chief minister Tarun Gogoi is also facing allegation of involvement.
The irregularities were detected in an audit report which was placed in the Assembly today by Skill, Employment & Entrepreneurship Development Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary in response to a question by MLA Narayan Deka.
Gogoi, however, rubbished the charges challenging the government to prove it. �I have never seen such a vindictive government. They have been after me for quite some time. Anyway, I am prepared to go to jail,� Gogoi said.
The irregularities were detected during an audit of accounts by the office of the Accountant General (Audit) conducted in 2015, the report of which was submitted to the secretary of the Labour and Employment Department of the State Government early last year.
According to the audit report, fictitious utilisation certificates (UCs) for Rs 1.96 crore was submitted by the Employment Generation Mission (EGM). An amount of Rs 33.54 crore was deposited in the bank, leading to unauthorised earning of interest of Rs 24.35 lakh, the report stated.
Moreover, the audit detected unfruitful expenditure of Rs 67 lakh and irregular implementation of a scheme on �contract farming� worth Rs 70 lakh under the EGM.
An interest of Rs 204.81 lakh earned out of the government fund by the implementing agency was neither utilised nor refunded.
The Assam Government had established the EGM, a three-year mission, in March, 2007 to generate 1,67,000 jobs. The total capital outlay was Rs 669 crore.
The Labour and Employment Department had sanctioned Rs 40 crore for the year 2008-09, which was released on March 22, 2010. The Director of Employment and Craftsmen Training released the amount to the Mission by cheque with an instruction to submit the UC by June, 2010. The EGM submitted UC for Rs 18.84 crore in June, 2010. According to the audit report, records stated that the EGM could utilise Rs 16.88 crore up to October, 2010, and thus UC for the remaining Rs 1.96 crore appears to be fictitious.
Other irregularities were also detected in the EGM. There was nothing on record regarding placement of the beneficiaries under projects worth Rs 67 lakh. The implementing agency only furnished the placement list which was not supported by any document, appointment letter or self-employment certificates. �It is not clear as to how the EGM authorities were satisfied with the completion of the projects,� the audit report said.
One Bhaskar Talukdar had raised allegation of Gogoi�s involvement in the scam on July 14, 2016, prompting the present BJP Government in the State to order an enquiry by an internal enquiry team, Patowary revealed, adding that report of the committee is awaited.
The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau of the State police is also investigating the matter, he further informed in the written reply in the State Assembly.