Dal scam: Orissa minister resigns, action against three others

Bhubaneswar, Feb 5 (PTI) The multi-crore dal scamtoday claimed its first victim with Orissa''s Women and ChildDevelopment Minister Pramila Mallick resigning and actionbeing initiated against three IAS officers over purchase ofdal for the mid-day meal scheme and Supplementary NutritionProgramme (SNP).

Mallick''s department was the nodal agency throughwhich dal was being given to about 9.5 million beneficiariesincluding 5 million school children.

"The minister Mrs Pramila Mallick has submitted herresignation to me. I have forwarded it to the Governor foracceptance," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters,adding action was also being taken against some collectorsfor their alleged involvement in it.

Chief Secretary B K Patnaik said a chargesheet wouldsoon be filed against two collector level officers.

The action comes two days after the stateanti-corruption vigilance department submitted its preliminaryreport on the Rs 700-crore dal scam.

"I have tendered my resignation on moral grounds on myown for the interest of BJD party and to keep the clean imageof the government in tact," Mallick said after putting in herpapers.

Keeping on hold the promotion of Deogarh CollectorAmbika Prasad Mishra to the post of Revenue DivisionalCommissioner (RDC) of Northern division, the government placedhim as an officer without duty in the general administrationdepartment.

Mishra, during his tenure as collector of Deogarh, hadfloated tender for dal for two years and samples collected byvigilance department wing showed the dal was of substandardquality.

Similarly, former collector of tribal dominatedMayurbhanj, P K Meherda, was also found to be involved in thescam by the vigilance department. .

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