Almost five years after the mutli-crore Telgi counterfeit stamp and stamp paper scam came to light, yet another scandal has surfaced in Pune with a franking machine missing from the sub-registrar’s office.
Though missing since August 2005 from the office of the sub-registrar in Haveli taluka, the police complaint was lodged nearly three years later, last April.
The city falls in Haveli taluka.
Deputy Registrar of Stamps and Registration Vasantrao Mhaske said an inquiry was on and an officer had been suspended. “A complaint has been lodged with the police,” Mhaske said.
A rough estimate would put the loss of revenue for the government at Rs 6.76 crore as a result of the franking machine going missing. The last entry concerning the franking machine was made in August 2005, said sources in the Haveli sub-registrar’s office, requesting anonymity since they were not authorised to speak to the press.
All data on computers linked to the franking machine during the period was also missing.
An offence of theft was registered at the Swargate police station on November 29, four months after the first information report.
Police sources, also requesting anonymity since they were not authorised to speak to the press, said it took time to register the case because officials from the sub-registrar’s office were not open about giving details.
Managing to record the statements of 10 employees so far, the police did not arrest anybody.
To avoid misuse of the missing franking machine, the police as well as the Pune sub-registrar’s office sent a state-level alert to all registration offices about particular code numbers.
Even the company which manufactured the machine has been asked to help in tracing it. Haveli Deputy Registrar AV Chatlawar was held responsible for the theft of the franking machine and suspended on December 30.
Denying the charge, Chatlawar had another story to tell.
“I was deputed in Nashik before my posting in Pune and the machine was missing before I took over,” Chatlawar said.
He also showed a letter by his predecessor, AB Bhosale, saying the franking machine was not in the office.