Unearthing a scam to the tune of Rs 18 crores, the Economic Offences Wing has filed an FIR against Shobhit Tripathi, CEO, Sironj Janpad Panchayat, in a corruption case. Shobhit allegedly swindled the money during the lockdown through the Marriage Assistance Scheme in Bhopal. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also expressed displeasure over the matter.
Shobhit Tripathi, who is the brother-in-law of minister Gopal Bhargava, was suspended as the matter came to the fore.
According to the EOW, it was learned during the investigation that Shobhit spent more than Rs 18 crores on 3,500 beneficiaries under the marriage assistance scheme between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. However, the further probe revealed that the beneficiaries consisted of many individuals who were already married.
The marriages for which the then CEO of Siron Janpad Panchayat withdrew the amount never took place as the government had banned mass weddings due to the COVID-19 restrictions. It was found that the money was never transferred to the bank accounts of the alleged beneficiaries and that Tripathi had carried out a scam.
The investigation also revealed that Tripathi claimed to have assisted Rs 51,000 to individuals who did not even apply for marriage but was shown married in papers. After the matter came to the notice of the authorities, officers even tried tampering with the evidence.
The EOW has now registered a case against Shobhit Tripathi under the Cheating, Embezzlement, Prevention of Corruption Act. The role of other officers is also being probed by the investigating authority.
Under the Marriage Assistance Scheme of the government, construction workers and their families are provided with financial assistance for marriage. A sum of Rs 51,000 is given to the beneficiary who is required to be registered with some construction workers welfare board to avail the benefit of the scheme.
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