A senior assistant in the accounts branch of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) has allegedly siphoned off around Rs 2 crore from the board accounts by preparing bogus arrear bills of employees.
The financial irregularities in the PSEB accounts were first pointed by PSEB secretary GS Bath following which an inquiry was ordered in August 2014. The inquiry, conducted by principal of Guru Nanak College, Budhlada, Dr Kuldip Singh Bal, revealed that the accused, Tarun Bhagirath, used to credit money in fake bank accounts of PSEB employees. Bhagirath also used to transfer money in his, his wife's and sister's accounts. The report, which was submitted to PSEB chairperson Tejinder Kaur Dhaliwal on June 22, gives details of 128 fake transactions by Bhagirath.
Before Bhagirath joined the PSEB accounts branch, a department-wise list of employees was prepared for verification while paying salaries. However, Bhagirath discontinued the drill and introduced computerised bills of employees alphabetically, irrespective of their position or place of posting. The earlier system of physical verification by the head of department was also stopped.
Taking advantage, Bhagirath started making false arrear bills and got them credited in his, his sister Pooja and wife Shiwinder Kaur's accounts. His wife, also a senior assistant in the board, has been placed under suspension. The accused also used salary accounts of the dead and retired employees to make fake transactions. More than `1 crore of the embezzled amount has been deposited in Bhagirath's account alone, the report revealed.
BOARD OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE
The 42-page report also holds other officials of the board responsible of negligence and giving the accused a free hand to embezzle funds. The report says that all bills are to be signed by the superintendent (salary) and the assistant secretary (accounts) and such embezzlement signals that they have failed in their duty. The report calls them "rubber stamps" as they failed to verify the papers before signing.
The report says that a retired senior assistant Mehar Singh and junior assistant Shubh Karan are also involved in the scam.