Chargesheet against Mansa welfare officers
A month after two officers of the welfare of scheduled castes and backward classes (SC/BC) department failed to defend the charges of serious financial irregularities against them, they have eventually been chargesheeted and could face a major penalty leading to their dismissal.chandigarh Updated: Oct 29, 2012 11:06 IST
A month after two officers of the welfare of scheduled castes and backward classes (SC/BC) department failed to defend the charges of serious financial irregularities against them, they have eventually been chargesheeted and could face a major penalty leading to their dismissal.
In a report carried on October 16, "Indicted Mansa welfare officer still on the job", Hindustan Times had highlighted how the officiating district welfare officer (DWO), Kuldeep Singh, had opened accounts in his name and encashed funds meant for the poor under various welfare schemes.
Last Monday, principal secretary R Venkatratnam issued chargesheets against Kuldeep Singh and his predecessor Sardool Singh, presently posted as the Bathinda DWO, to explain within 20 days why no action be taken against them in the wake of the charges.
"We have adopted a foolproof procedure of departmental inquiry now for appropriate action against both the officers. If they fail to explain their position in the specified period, a final inquiry would be marked for a major penalty against them, which could even cost them their jobs," said Venkatratnam.
However, Kuldeep continues to remain the officiating Mansa DWO despite the departmental inquiry against him and Sardool. He was given additional charge of deputy director, directorate of welfare of SC/BC here even after the allegations against him surfaced.
Punjab minister for SC/BC welfare Sarwan Singh Phillaur said he had asked the principal secretary to take necessary action against the officials after going through the HT report.
After detecting fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 36.56 lakh meant for various welfare schemes by the Mansa DWO, Sutlej Gramin Bank brought the matter to the notice of the directorate of SC/BC welfare in the form of a detailed report over three months ago.
The report revealed that officiating DWO Kuldeep Singh was found guilty of withdrawing lakhs of rupees from the funds meant for poor students' scholarships and the Shagun scheme, fraudulently opening bank accounts, transferring funds from one account to another, including the savings account he had opened in the DWO's name, and closing the accounts, all without informing or taking permission from the department.
"Kuldeep was indirectly getting payments of cheques issued to beneficiaries under welfare schemes of your department, through illegal collection from our Mansa branch office," then bank chairman KJS Dhillon wrote in a communiqué to the directorate of SC/BC welfare. He said he suspected that the officer had misused these funds.
After the bank highlighted the irregularities, the department initiated a detailed inquiry, conducted by JS Saini, deputy controller, finance and accounts. The inquiry indicted Kuldeep and Sardool for financial irregularities.
Illegal opening of savings and current accounts
Withdrawal of cash from stipulated welfare funds
Operating transactions from another account in the name of the department of social security, which has nothing to do with the department of SC/BC welfare
Frauds cited in Gramin Bank report
Bank accounts fraudulently opened, welfare funds transferred from one account to another through cash or cheques, as revealed by bank statements
In a glaring irregularity, 51 third-party cheques for Rs 15,000 each (amounting to Rs 7.65 lakh) meant for Shagun scheme beneficiaries were deposited and the entire amount was soon withdrawn in cash on June 22, 2011.