Bhubaneswar: Four senior government officials in Odisha’s Nuapada district have been arrested for embezzling funds sanctioned under the central government’s flagship rural jobs scheme, an official said Friday.

The arrests came after district collector Guha Poonam Tapas Kumar asked police to conduct an independent probe on the complaints she received from local villagers in her grievance cell Thursday.

“During investigations it was found that the officials had forged documents and siphoned off government money, the collector told IANS. “Evidence suggests they have carried out criminal misappropriation” she said.

Those arrested from the district headquarters town of Nuapada, about 550 km from here are block development officer S.C. Singh, assistant block development officer P.K. Bhoi, assistant engineer S.P. Behera and junior engineer P.P. Dhengra.

The officials have been accused of not constructing two roads in Komna area of the district and siphoning off lakhs of rupees by producing forged documents, a senior district police officer said.

The funds were sanctioned under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) that guarantees 100 days of employment in a financial year to an adult in a poor rural household.

Wages meant to have been deposited in bank accounts of workers were deposited in an account held by the junior engineer. Records showed regular wages being paid to workers who had died months ago, the police officer added. Irregularities in other schemes were also found to have been carried out by the same officials.

Source: IANS