BJP cries vendetta as Kamal Nath holds pension payout for prisoners detained during Emergency

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New Delhi | Updated: January 3, 2019 12:36:26 PM

Interestingly, Nath was inducted into the Congress during the Emergency between 1975 and 1977 and was said to be in the inner circle of Sanjay Gandhi.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath finds himself in yet another controversy after the row over Vande Mataram. In the latest decision, the Chief Minister is learnt to have deferred the monthly pension to those who were detained during the Emergency under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR).

About 2,000 people who were imprisoned during the Emergency get a monthly pension of Rs 25,000, under the Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan Samman Nidhi Niyam scheme. Reports suggesting that the Congress government in MP will change the scheme as soon as it assumed power in December were already doing the rounds.

Now, the move has drawn sharp criticism from the Opposition BJP, which has condemned the move and termed the proposed changes as a political vendetta.

Interestingly, Nath was inducted into the Congress during the Emergency between 1975 and 1977 and was said to be in the inner circle of Sanjay Gandhi.

As per the MP government circular issued on December 29, 2018 to all district collectors and divisional commissioners, the process to distribute the monthly pension needs to be overhauled to make it “accurate and transparent”.

The order also says that guidelines will be sent for physical verification of all beneficiaries separately. Citing CAG reports, the circular seems to suggest that amounts more than which were originally allocated have been spent under the scheme which was started by the BJP back in 2008.

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The department which oversees it finds it “difficult” to explain the unsual spending to the Public Accounts Committee. To fix the expenditure, the legislation which governs the scheme, has to be shared again in the Assembly, the circular further says. The pension for January has been paid to most of the beneficiaries, however, it is not clear whether they will be receiving it next month.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Kailash Soni, who is national head of the Loktantra Senani Sangh was quoted by the Indian Express and said that there was “no fake beneficiary.”

“In fact, the number has come down from the initial 2400-odd to 2,000 which proves that the process is accurate,’’ Soni stated.

There are more than 300 widows who receive half the pension after their husband’s death among those 2000-odd beneficiaries in Madhya Pradesh, he added. As per him, even some Congress activists are listed among the pension beneficiaries.

“If any such illegality is committed we will challenge it in court,’’ he told The Indian Express.

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