“I AM alive…I am alive. My son has declared me dead just for my money! Please listen to me!” says 80-year-old Hazara Singh running pillar to post to claim his pension.
In his complaint to general manager Northern Railways and to Punjab National Bank from where he is drawing his pension, Hazara alleged that his son, Nirbar Singh, has declared him ‘dead’ due to a dispute over property in the family.
Another son of Hazara’s, Kuldip Singh, alleges that his brother had lodged a false complaint that their father was dead five years ago and someone else was drawing his pension. He made this known to almost every office, including the bank and the workshop, and even their relatives in Amritsar.
Soon after the false complaint, the bank froze the pension. Hazara, who had retired from Alambagh Carriage and Wagon Workshop as a carpenter in 1988, says pension was his sole sustenance.
“I met KK Saini, assistant financial advisor, Carriage and Wagon shops, Northern Railway, Alambagh twice in July. All my credentials (documents) were verified in the office of Ravi Seth, deputy financial advisor and chief accounts officer of the Alambagh workshop,” Hazara alleges in a complaint to GM VN Mathur. “Yet, Seth instructed the bank to stop my pension.”
He claims, “I can produce the witnesses, if necessary, in whose presence my credentials were verified and found correct.”
On being contacted, Seth squarely blamed the Punjab National Bank for freezing the pension. He maintained that the pension of any person, even during the course of an inquiry, is not stopped. Initially, Seth refused that he received any such complaint, but later admitted that he was knew of a complaint about Hazara’s death. “I heard, some relative of Hazara had lodged a complaint with the bank,” he said.
But, the fact remains that Seth had informed the bank about the vigilance inquiry against Hazara, and said that the preliminary report would be submitted soon.
The bank officials refused to have caused any sort of inconvenience to Hazara.
Senior manager of PNB, D Verma, denied any error on part of the bank and said it was the bank which had cleared his pension after freezing it for two months after an inquiry. Seeing no response to reminders and letters from the railways, general manager of the bank Keshav Agrawal got the pension released.