Rs 100cr scam in horticulture directorate: Dama

Bhubaneswar: Taking a jibe at officials involved in the misappropriation of government funds meant for horticulture, senior BJD leader and former agriculture minister Damodar Rout Wednesday alleged that there was a scam worth at least `100 crore in the state.
In a written reply to Rout, Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy said that the state-level investigation committee has submitted a report on misappropriation of `17,33,03,275 at the horticulture office of Mayurbhanj district. The government first suspended the Assistant Director. But now he has been posted in Nayagarh district, the minister said.
Maharathy said that departmental proceedings have been initiated against 16 other officials who were involved in the scam.
Similarly, around `11.50 crore of the horticulture directorate was misused in five other districts.
Rout told the media that government money of at least `100 crore was looted by corrupt horticulture directorate officials. Public funds worth `24 crore were misappropriated.
Indicating that he was removed from the Cabinet for pointing out the scam, the former minister said, “If someone objected to such acts by officials, and action was taken against him instead of the officials, then only God can save our state.”
Reacting to Rout’s allegation Maharathy said, “There was no scam in the distribution of seeds and saplings during my tenure. As he is making the allegation, I have sought a report from the horticulture director on this.”
As for the action against Rout is concerned, the minister said that he might have been removed from the Cabinet for some other reason.