Panjab University pension cell rip-off reaches Rs 2 crore

  • Bhartesh Singh Thakur, None, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 14, 2015 23:15 IST

The Panjab University (PU) status report has put the quantum of the pension cell scam at Rs 2.08 crore with the checking of accounts of the financial year 2013-14.

The varsity is accusing daily wage clerk Pooja Bagga for the rip-off and has also got a case registered against her for cheating and forgery. Her anticipatory bail application will come up for hearing on Tuesday at the district courts in Chandigarh.

The status report, which will be put before the PU syndicate meeting on September 20, has been prepared after checking both audited and unaudited accounts of the pension cell between 2013-14 and 2015-16.

Bagga was issued a showcause notice on September 3. On September 4, it was decided that an independent committee would carry out scrutiny and accordingly records of the pension cell such as cashbooks, budget registers, establishment check registers, cheque book counter foils etc. since the inception of pension fund i.e. from financial year 2006 onwards were sealed and kept under lock in the custody of office of the registrar," the report stated.

On September 4, a five-member committee was formed to look into the misappropriation and Bagga in her reply confessed to the crime. On September 5, the police was informed and a first information report was lodged against her.

Bagga was put under suspension on September 8 and also GC Gulati, assistant registrar, and Naresh Sabharwal, superintendent, who were earlier issued memos were transferred from the pension cell.

In her reply, Bagga said superintendent of the pension cell Naresh Sabharwal enticed her to embezzle funds. She also termed him the mastermind of the scam. However, the PU status report says Sabharwal was the first one to report the fraud.

"In 2013, Naresh Sabharwal who was then a senior assistant in the pension cell approached me and said that you don't know the importance of seat you are sitting [sic]," said Bagga in her reply. He allegedly told Bagga that he could tell her the ways and means by which both would benefit.
"He had told me to bring the passbooks accounts [sic] of my relatives which I brought the next day and subsequently manipulated the excel sheets and got vouchers. He took the accounts numbers from these passbooks and subsequently manipulated the excel sheets and got vouchers prepared and subsequently the amount was withdrawn, out of which he gave a meagre sum and kept the major amount with him. After this, he started this whole process and such transactions were repeated in which always he used to take the major share," said Bagga

Bagga said she had already paid back more than what she received. It is Sabharwal who had pocketed more than Rs 50 lakh, she alleged.

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