PU pension cell scam: Pooja Bagga’s bail plea turned down, faces arrest

  • Nikhil Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 17, 2015 14:25 IST

More heads are likely to roll as the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police is investigating the role of other Panjab University employees in the pension cell scam that has touched `2-crore figure.

Considering the plea of police that Pooja Bagga, a daily-wage clerk working with the PU, booked for the fraud in the pension cell was an important link and her custodial interrogation was needed to know the role of other Panjab University employees, the court on Wednesday dismissed her bail plea and directed the EOW to take action against others involved. She now can be arrested by the police.

The police had strongly opposed the bail application of Bagga, pointing out that the scam could to bigger than what it appeared.

The Panjab University status report has already put the quantum of the pension cell scam at `2.08 crore after the checking of accounts of the financial year 2013-14.

Bagga in her bail application had also named Naresh Sabharwal, who is serving as superintendent in pension cell, terming him the mastermind of the scam. She accused Sabharwal of introducing her to the forgery.

In her reply to the PU, Pooja stated, “As I was a young girl having no knowledge of rules and was enticed by Naresh Sabharwal to commit the wrongs. He is the mastermind, who used my innocence and dragged me into this whole episode.”

The police claimed that since Bagga had already confessed to her crime and her family, including father and husband, has apologised in writing to the PU authorities, her crime had been established and thus her arrest was important for further investigations.

According to the police, accused used to transfer money in the accounts of her relatives.

Public prosecutor JP Singh said, “Further investigations by EOW will expose the involvement of higher officials of the PU and thus it was not feasible to grant bail to the accused. I have never heard of a scam like this in PU before. The quantum of the scam may increase drastically since the scrutiny of all the accounts is still pending.”

Officials of the Panjab University had accused Bagga of carrying out the scam by re-using the vouchers once the beneficiaries were paid. Officials claimed that Bagga used hers and her relatives’ account numbers to deposit the cheques.

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