Bhamashah system dented, ₹7.7 lakh pension siphoned off to fake accounts
Two banking correspondents in Barmer district have siphoned off ₹7.70 lakh social security pension amount transferred to beneficiaries’ accounts electronically under the Bhamashah scheme, officials said.jaipur Updated: Jun 23, 2017 20:15 IST
Two banking correspondents in Barmer district have siphoned off ₹7.70 lakh social security pension amount transferred to beneficiaries’ accounts electronically under the Bhamashah scheme, officials said.
Under the Bhamashah scheme, named after a general of Maharana Pratap and inaugurated by chief minister Vasundhara Raje in 2014, financial and non-financial benefits of schemes are directly transferred to recipients. Accounts have been seeded with the Bhamashah digital platform to transfer the benefits.
The two banking correspondents, appointed by the SBI to provide services in rural areas, appropriated the amount by creating fake accounts and digitally linking them to those of the beneficiaries.
District treasury department officials have registered two cases against them and police have started investigation.
The embezzlement was detected after the department of information and technology sent a mail to treasury officials to stop pension transfer to 126 accounts and investigate the books, said Barmer district treasury officer Dinesh Bareth.
The investigation revealed that Joga Ram of Gudamalani and Hanumanaram Bishnoi of Dhorimanna have embezzled the amount. The two SBI banking correspondents also run e-mitra centres, which facilitate transfer of benefits.
Bareth said the accused had opened fake bank accounts in Dhorimanna and Gudamalani branches of the SBI and linked them to the pensioners’ books seeded with the Bhamashah portal.
When the information and technology department noticed that pensions of more than one beneficiary were transferred to one account, it told treasury officials to stop transfer of money to 126 accounts.
“Apart from the 126 accounts, we found 181 more such cases,” Bareth said. Investigation revealed that accused have embezzled ₹7.70 lakh in 307 cases. “Joga Ram had linked 23 pensioners’ accounts with 8 fake ones and embezzled ₹50,750; in 284 cases, Hanumanaram had embezzled ₹7,19,850 by linking one fake account with three to six pensioners’ accounts.”
Bareth said the amount was recovered from the State Bank of India. A case was filed against Joga Ram at Gudamalani police station and another against Hanumanaram at Dhorimanna.
Ram Niwas, deputy superintendent of police of Gudamalani circle, said, “On the basis of the treasury department’s report, we have registered the cases against the accused under sections 420 and 409 of IPC and started investigation.”
Officials suspected more such frauds in other parts of the state, and informed district collectors to verify accounts.
Barmer district collector Shivprasad Nakate ordered block development officers and sub-divisional officers to check all pension accounts seeded with the Bhamashah portal.