More than Rs. 1 crore have allegedly been siphoned off the pension grants meant for widows, physically disabled, destitute citizens and senior citizens by some officials in the local social security department, over four years.
Punjab director of social security women and child welfare Gurkirat Kirpal Singh recently wrote a letter to the social security officer to write to the SSP to probe the bungling of pension and financial aid at Chak Jamit Singh Wala village here.
The letter (P.2 (SS/2014/1699 dated January 21) also talks of recovering of government money from the accused. The police have registered a case.
"Records show that 165 beneficiaries of various pension schemes in Chak Jamit Singh Wala village were given 1,750 per head amounting to Rs. 2,88,750 lakh on May 1, 2009. The amount was withdrawn by the panchayat representative. However, on a complaint by one Malkiat Singh, the DC conducted a probe and found that nothing was given to real beneficiaries," said a senior official.
"The scam is simple. The undistributed pension for old age, widows, physical handicaps and destitute children was shown as having been distributed in record, but he beneficiaries were never actually given the money," said another source.
The same modus operandi was reportedly followed at other places too with another Rs. 2.33 lakh allegedly embezzled at Jhanduwala village in Guru Har Sahai.
"In these cases, the amount given has been shown as distribution of arrears to pension beneficiaries. However, under the rules, the undistributed amount should be deposited back to government treasury," added official.
The scam has reportedly been detected at 18 villages till now.
"The director has also written to the financial department asking for a special audit of Ferozepur as well as Tarn Taran," another official added.
When contacted, Ferozepur SSP Manminder Singh admitted that he had received a complaint. "An inquiry has been ordered," he said.