Another official’s arrest in PU pension scam imminent: Cops | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Another official’s arrest in PU pension scam imminent: Cops

punjab Updated: Oct 03, 2015 09:44 IST
Nikhil Sharma
Pooja Bagga

Panjab University’s finance and development officer Vikram Nayyar can be arrested anytime, police officials investigating the varsity’s pension cell scam said.

Though Nayyar has been blaming the auditors, daily wage worker Pooja Bagga and suspended superintendent Naresh Sabharwal for the fraud, the police have found that every cheque issued in the names of inelligible beneficiaries has been signed by Nayyar. According to officials, a sum of about Rs 71 lakh was transferred to the accounts of inelligible beneficiaries in the year 2014-15 and Rs 45 lakh in 2013-14.

“Old vouchers were re-used and amount transferred to the accounts of inelligible persons. The cheques were signed by the FDO, pointing out that he knew of the fraud,” said an official. The official said an amount of over Rs 12 lakh was transferred to the account of a beneficiary on January 6, 2014. Using the same voucher, Rs 5 lakh was transferred to the account of a new beneficiary on May 6, 2015.

Sabharwal had given key tasks to Bagga

Naresh Sabharwal, on the other hand, has been maintaining that Pooja Bagga and FDO Vikram Nayyar were solely responsible for the fraud; however, the police say the records in their possession show that the former is the key accused in the case.

Sabharwal while allocating the work and responsibilities to his team, had issued a circular in 2015 stating that Bagga would look after cash book, financial statements, grants, budgets, etc. under his ‘direct supervision’. A copy of the circular is in the possession of the EOW.

Police officials said, “Sabharwal cannot refute his involvement since he himself issued a circular which stated that Bagga would function under his supervision. Moreover, he was responsible for sending a text file to the bank concerned directing the officials to transfer the money in the respective accounts, following which bank made the transactions. He sent the text files after checking the vouchers and cheques.”

PU’S preliminary probe biased: Police

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Chandigarh Police has claimed that the committee formed by the Panjab University for carrying out preliminary investigations into the Pension Cell fraud case didn’t act in an impartial manner.

The police are convinced that FDO Vikram Nayyar tried to save the skin of his regular employees and projected Pooja Bagga as the sole accused.

Sabharwal sent to jail

A local court on Friday sent Sabharwal to judicial custody till October 16. The police have also taken the handwriting specimen of the accused which will be sent to the CFSL for matching his handwriting on the vouchers.

Pooja Bagga to cops: Sabharwal kept the lion’s share

Pooja Bagga in her statement to the police said that no amount was transferred in her personal account in 2013-14. The money was transferred to the accounts of her relatives that year. She said Naresh Sabharwal was very close to her family and attended many family gatherings at her place. She said that Sabharwal had told her that they (Bagga and Sabharwal) should not keep money in their accounts. According to Bagga, she used to get only a small amount of the money pilfered and Sabharwal kept the lion’s share. “In 2015, when I asserted myself, Sabharwal deposited two cheques for Rs 9 lakh and Rs 12 lakh in my account and later became the whistleblower accusing me of fraud,” Bagga told the police. The cheques were signed by FDO and text files to the bank were sent by Sabharwal.