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19 Indian state officials face corruption charges

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May 20, 2013 09:27 AM EST | AP


LUCKNOW, India — An Indian state official is recommending that 19 people be charged with misappropriating millions of dollars in the construction of monuments honoring dalits, the lowest Hindu caste.

Uttar Pradesh state ombudsman N.K. Mehrotra says a total of 199 people, including former state officials and contractors, are suspected of involvement in the scandal. He says he will make recommendations about the rest after he studies evidence against them.

Mehrotra said Monday that about one-third of the $1.8 billion budget may have been misspent.

He said he did not find any direct evidence that former state chief minister Mayawati stole any of the money. Mayawati, a dalit leader who uses one name, ordered construction of the monuments from 2007 to 2012.

India has been rocked in recent years by government corruption scandals.