Television

Star News exposes MPs on fund allocation scam

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MUMBAI: Sting time on TV as politicians fall prey once again. It has barely being a week since Aaj Tak's cash-for-query scam, that Star News 'Operation Chakravyuh' has hit the tube. Only, this reveals misuse of public money.

The Aap Ko Rakhe Agaye channel, Star News in collaboration with Detective Intelligence Guild (DIG) aired the sting operation on six MPs over the controversial MP's - Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).

Star News latest sting operation - 'Operation Chakravyuh' captured the MPs on camera seeking commissions while allotting funds under the scheme for developmental works in their respective constituencies.

Speaking to indiantelevision.com Star News CEO Udya Shankar noted, " It is not an extension of Operation Duryodhana, which was a case of misusing MP's privilege. Operation Chakravyuh clearly shows mismanagement and misappropriation of funds meant for the public. The scheme mainly allows MPs to utilise the funds for developmental activity."

Shankar points out, "What's noticable in the operation is the infiltration of middle-men who have access to the political network and also that certain network of MPs would stop at nothing to earn a quick buck."

The reporters of Star News and the DIG posed as lobbying managers for a fictitious NGO called 'Ashray Abhiyaan' to net the MP's. The two organisations have for the past six months been on the trail of MPs from various constituencies to unearth and uncover a league of corrupt and unscrupulous MPs.     

The expose captured six MPs; three from BJP, one from Samajwadi Party and one each from Congress (I), BSP and Rashrtiya Kranti Dal asking for commissions for releasing funds from their MP- LAD scheme. The MPs caught by hidden cameras were shown asking for commissions ranging from five per cent to 45 per cent for sanctioning funds under the scheme.

The channel captured six MPs pocketing commissions while allotting projects that are executed from MP-LADs money. MPs are allotted Rs 20 billion per annum for undertaking designated developmental activities in their respective constituencies. The MP-LADs -a kitty of Rs 80 billion -is to be spent at the discretion of members of both Houses

The six MPs on 'Operation Chakravyuh' are: former Union minister and BJP LS member from Madhya Pradesh's Mandla constituency Faggan Singh Kulaste, former Goa chief minister and south-Goa Congress LS MP Churchill Alemao, former UP Minister and Samajwadi Party LS MP Paras Nath Yadav from Jaunpur constituency, BJP Lok Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi constituency C P Singh, BJP Lok Sabha member Ramswaroop Koli and Samajwadi Party member in the Rajya Sabha Sakshi Maharaj.

Its to be noted that although seven MPs were under scrutiny for the sting operation, only the Uttar Pradesh, Saidpur Lok Sabha MP Toofani Saroj refused to accept any commission or bribe.

Congress MP Churchil Alemao from Goa who was one the six MPs caught for area fund scam has alleged that efforts were made to tarnish his image and said that he would move the court against the channel. Shankar asserts that the channel is ready to be challenged on the same.

The sting operation footages aired on Star News reaffirms the belief that corruption is widely prevalent amongst the Indian politicians. Star News has in the past carried out a sting operation on its investigative show Red Alert. The expose came post-Tehelka and delved into the involvement of glamorous Bollywood actresses and models in a high profile prostitution racket.

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