Goa government today denied the allegation of fraud in the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Assurance scheme in the state.
Information obtained by local NGO Goa Parivartan Manch under the Right to Information Act had revealed that names of Bollywood celebrities such as Amitabh Bachahan, Aamir Khan, Paresh Rawal, and cricketers including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, etc, figure in the list of beneficiaries under MNREGA in the state.
The name of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was also in the list, which contained names of the MNREGA workers from Chimbel village near Panaji.
However, Goa government's Rural Development Agency (RDA), the nodal agency for implementation of this Central scheme, today said there were no payments to bogus beneficiaries.
"The names of these celebrities were registered during the training process for the officials connected with the implementation of this scheme, and subsequently these names were dropped," RDA said in a release here.
No job cards were issued in the name of any such celebrity and hence the issue of payment to a bogus worker did not arise, it said.
These names were registered when officials were being trained on how to fill the job cards in 2008, it said.
But GPM convener Yatish Naik told PTI that this was an eye-wash. "Kindly check the central government's website for the scheme. These names still appear there and they have been given registration number too, which means that they are eligible for job cards," he said, asking how the names of Ricky Ponting, former Australian cricketer, and his family members could have made it to the list for a demonstration purpose.