A day after a helper, Amandeep Singh, of the Patiala municipal corporation (MC) was arrested for forging signatures of the MC commissioner, two more civic body employees, including mayor Amarinder Bajaj’s personal assistant (PA) and stenographer, have been booked under the same charges.
Bajaj’s PA Lakhvir Singh masterminded and forged the signatures of MC commissioner Indu Malhotra, who is also holding additional charge of Patiala deputy commissioner (DC). Satpal Singh, a clerk in dispatch branch, is also allegedly involved in the matter.
However, citing involvement of many more other employees, Malhotra has ordered a detailed inquiry into the matter, apart from police investigation.
The trio — Lakhvir, Satpal and Amandeep — is accused of forging Malhotra’s signatures to change the cadre and promote Amandeep from a skilled helper to a regular peon. In the prima-facia investigation, it came to fore that the accused not only forged signatures of the MC’s top official, but also tempered the record and misplaced an official file, in which joint commissioner Nazar Singh had earlier raised questions over changing Amandeep’s cadre.
Moreover, Satpal, who first found the signatures suspicious, later gave a dispatch number. The matter came to light when the bogus order reached the commissioner’s office and it was found that no such order was passed.
It should be mentioned that the case of alteration in Amandeep’s cadre was mooted in the last general house meeting in March, but the agenda went into pipeline, following certain objections.
Indeed, soon after there were reports of involvement of his official PA into the matter, Bajaj had written to the commissioner to place Lakhvir under suspension with immediate effect.
Malhotra said both the employees had been suspended and strict disciplinary action would be taken, apart from police action. “Detailed inquiry has been ordered into the matter as other employees can be involved too. Investigations will also be done to check if such activities were committed in the past, so that necessary action can be initiated,” Malhotra added. The police have registered a case under Sections 473 (possessing counterfeit seal), 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) against the accused.