Gujarat: Congress charges Smriti Irani with fraud in MPLAD funds, demands her ouster

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New Delhi | Published: June 4, 2018 1:34:06 PM

Congress has accused Smriti Irani of spending her funds without inviting any tender in her adopted village Maghrol in Anand district under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY).

Congress, Smriti Irani, Indian National Congress, Maghrol village, Anand district, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, BJP, Bharatiya Janata Party, Smriti irani corruption, MPLADUnion Minister of Textiles, Smriti Irani interacts with the media on completion of 4 years of the NDA government, in Ahmedabad on Saturday, Jun 02, 2018. (PTI Photo)

The Congress party has accused BJP MP and Union minister Smriti Irani of ‘financial irregularities’ in spending the MPLAD fund. The party has alleged that Irani spent her funds without inviting any tender in her adopted village Maghrol in Anand district under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). Irani is a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat.

Congress’ state unit president Amit Chhavda has demanded Irani’s resignation for the alleged fraud. He said that the minister violated the guidelines set for spending money from the MPLAD. According to him, contracts were awarded to Sharda Manjoor Kamdar Sahkari Mandli without release of any tender and under pressure from Irani and her staff.

“Smriti Irani illegally used her MPLAD fund in violation of the guidelines for their use. She and her staff insisted and coerced official into awarding contracts to one Sharda Majoor Kamdar Sahkari Mandli… so that funds could be easily misused and misappropriated and fraud goes unnoticed,” he said.

According to Amit, the Congress had in July 2017 moved the Gujarat High Court against the alleged irregularities after the Anand district administration in its probe found serious ‘malpractices’ in the spending by Irani.

Amit said that the Anand District Collector had on February 2 this year issued a letter to the Mandli ordering it to return Rs 2.95 crore into the government treasury with 18% interest on it. He said that after adding 18%, the total money that Mandli is supposed to deposit is Rs 4.08 crore. However, he said, the money has not been deposited into the government’s account.

“After revelations of financial malpractices, Irani has no right to continue as Minister and she must resign immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, the BJP has refuted all allegations. State unit chief Jitu Vaghani said that the grant was approved by an MP and it was implemented by the district administration. Maghrol, with a population of around 4,800, is situated in Sojitra taluka of Anand district. Irani had adopted this village under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana in 2015.

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