Uttarakhand Government Orders Probe Into 2013 Flood Relief Scam

One of the seized sculptures

DEHRA DUN, UTTARAKHAND: Uttarakhand government has ordered an enquiry into the alleged defraud of funds during the 2013 relief operations by government officials, where they submitted inflated and forged bills.

“I have ordered an inquiry into the allegations under the Chief Secretary. I can assure you that not a single guilty officer will be spared. These are serious allegations and if found true most strict action will be taken against the erring officials by the Government,” said Chief Minister Harish Rawat today.

The documents showed officials billing the state exchequer with Rs. 194 for half a litre of milk, staying in hotels which cost over Rs. 7,000 per day. Government officials allegedly distributed relief funds twice to same persons, purchased 1,800 rain coats from same shop for three consecutive days, and submitted fake fuel bills.

“If the state government has even an iota of morality left in it, it should recommend a CBI probe into the scam and resign owning moral responsibility for the ugly loot of money meant for people struck by an unprecedented tragedy,” said Ajay Bhatt, Opposition Leader in the state assembly.

Flash floods in the hill state had left 5,000 people dead in 2013, and the issue of swindling funds came up when a Right To Information (RTI) activist submitted documents to the state information department, showing huge irregularities of forged and inflated bills during relief work.