New Delhi: The Centre has sent 280 special teams to various states to investigate alleged irregularities in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) scheme since its inception.

Of these, eight teams of National Level Monitors (NLMs) were sent in 2006-07, 28 in 2007-08, 63 during 2008-09, 42 in 2009-10, 85 during 2010-11 and 54 in 2011-12, the Ministry of Rural Development, which acts as a nodal agency in implementing the scheme, said in reply to an RTI query.

According to the information, the teams were sent to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Punjab, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat among others.

The charges probed by the teams included siphoning off funds, misappropriation and misutilisation of money allotted for the scheme, preparation of fake job cards and muster rolls, the reply said.

As per norms, investigation of graft under MNREGA rests with the State governments concerned. However, the Ministry sends its special teams of NLMs, which constitute retired civil servants and ex-servicemen, in cases where it suspects large scale corruption.

MNREGA was launched in 2005 to guarantee employment of minimum 100 days to people living below the poverty line.

According to the reply, all but five teams have submitted their reports to the Ministry of Rural Development.

The five teams are those that were sent to Bishnupur (Manipur), Belgaum (Karnataka), Bareilly, Azamgarh (UP) and Jajpur (Odisha) between November 2011 and January 2012, it said.