Days after 256 ‘ghost’ employees scam was detected in the buildings and roads department of the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC), it has now emerged that 40 employees in the MC’s public health department are non-existent and salaries have been withdrawn in their names for nearly five years (1996-2001).
As per the list (in possession of HT) of transferred daily wagers from the UT administration to MC in 1996, around 20 daily wagers having same names along with same father’s name under the category of beldar and helper, but they never existed. They were shown employed in the MC’s public health department who were transferred from the UT administration.
A senior officer of the UT administration on the condition of anonymity said, “Employees transferred to the public health department never existed. Fake muster rolls were drawn and fictitious attendance was marked to show their presence. Also, the payment was shown to be made to actual person and on average payment of Rs 1,500 per person per month was made.”
Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga said, “How MC continued to release salaries for non-existent daily wagers for five years? It is a perfect case to be handed over to the CBI. It is very shameful that in a city like Chandigarh it has happened. We want strict action against the officers involved in the scam.”
MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh had already marked an inquiry to the UT chief vigilance officer.
In the recent past, HT had highlighted how in a glaring example of the MC’s casual manner of functioning as 256 people from the MC’s department of buildings and roads were apparently transferred from the UT administration to the civic body in 1996 were in fact non-existent and were even ‘paid’ Rs 25 lakh as salary arrears.
The employees had been assigned to work on muster rolls in various engineering departments of the administration and were paid daily wages.
In 1996, when the MC came into existence, the UT administration transferred 1,369 employees, of which 1,113 joined the civic body.
HT in its investigations also found that this has caused a loss of nearly Rs 8 crore to the public exchequer as 256 daily wagers were enrolled with the UT administration since 1985 and the then offices concerned have withdrawn payment on manufactured muster rolls.