Even as the sifting of the records is still on, the Panjab University authorities till now have detected pilferage of Rs 92 lakh from its pension cell by a daily wager woman employee, Pooja Bagga. Now, the varsity authorities are inquiring to find out whether or not anybody else helped her. "She has already returned Rs 63 lakh. So far, she is co-operating in the investigations," said PU registrar Col GS Chadha (retd).
Bagga has been working at the PU since 2009 and, as per sources, was drawing a salary of about Rs 15,000. The PU authorities have claimed that she has confessed to the pilferage of money and was trying to collect money from her contacts to pay back to the varsity.
Talking to HT, Chadha said, "During reconciliation of accounts, we found that the payments were not reaching the accounts of the beneficiaries. We then caught her," said Chadha.
The PU authorities then found vouchers with her. As per Chadha, she committed the forgery by bypassing the stages through which the transactions were to be cleared. She was depositing the money in a separate account.
She has been removed from the pension cell. "Further investigations are on and would be complete in 2-3 days. We will then send a complaint to the police against her," Chadha said.
Director public relations Vineet Punia said the preliminary inquiry report has been submitted. Inquiry officer (IO) has been appointed to conduct the detailed inquiry into the matter. Appropriate action against the delinquent official will be taken as per the rules and report of the IO. "The university administration has taken this incident very seriously and remedial action to prevent the occurrence of such incidents will be taken," Punia said.
Pooja Bagga was working as a clerk with the pension cell of the varsity. She forged cheques which had been cleared to be deposited in pensioners' accounts and got them deposited in another account. She pilfered small amounts at a time to escape the eye of the authorities.