The UT administration’s vigilance department will conduct a probe into the “ghost” employees’ fraud. In August 2014, HT had highlighted how 256 people transferred from the UT administration to the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) in 1996 were nonexistent.
In April, MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh had asked UT adviser-cum-chief vigilance officer Vijay Dev to order a vigilance inquiry into the fraud. Confirming the development, senior superintendent of police (SSP vigilance) Maneesh Chaudhary said the inquiry would be completed within a month.
When the Chandigarh MC came into existence in 1996, the UT administration had transferred 1,369 employees of which 1,113 joined the civic body. Yet, the MC continued to pay salaries amounting to `25 lakh to the remaining 256 nonexistent employees. The employees had been assigned to work on muster rolls in various engineering departments of the administration and were paid daily wages.
The matter came to light only after the civic body’s audit department wrote to MC commissioner, asking him to conduct a thorough investigation into the fraud. Following this, the MC commissioner wrote to the UT adviser to order an inquiry in April this year.
“It appears lakhs of rupees were embezzled in the process, which necessitates disciplinary action against the MC officials involved,” the letter written to the commissioner reads.
Former mayor Subhash Chawla said: “It may be the biggest fraud in the MC and may run into crores as we don’t know for how long these nonexistent employees had been withdrawing government funds on the basis of fictitious documents.”