A day after Hindustan Times reported the existence of a fraud involving the municipal corporation in which non-existent “ghost” employees were paid Rs. 20 lakh as salary arrears, it has now emerged that the MC official who had passed the bills was none other than SK Chaddha, who was executive engineer at that time and is now the chief engineer of the UT administration’s engineering department.
During an investigation conducted by HT, it was found bills drawn up in 2001 for payment of arrears of 40 employees had Chaddha’s signature. Questions are now being raised about why he cleared the bills even when none of the 256 employees ostensibly transferred to the civic body had not submitted their joining report.
On Monday, HT revealed that, that 256 people ostensibly transferred from the UT administration to the civic body in 1996 were in fact nonexistent “ghost” employees who were even paid Rs. 25 lakh as salary arrears. The employees had been assigned to work on muster rolls in various engineering departments of the administration and were paid daily wages.
When contacted, Chaddha admitted he was the executive engineer in 2001 but termed the allegations about irregularities committed in passing the bills “baseless.” “I don’t even remember the case as it happened way back in 2001,” is all that he could come up with.
Meanwhile, SAD-BJP councillor Malkiat Singh said: “If it has been found that the bills were passed in violation of the rules, why has the MC been sleeping over the matter for all these years? The officials responsible should be issued a charge sheet immediately so that they don’t go scot free. Also, the UT administration should ascertain from its records as to why the employees transferred to the MC had not joined the civic body and, prior to that, who was paying their salaries.”
In 1996, when the Chandigarh municipal corporation came into existence, the UT administration transferred 1,369 employees of which only 1,113 joined the civic body. After the pay scales were revised in 1998, the MC continued to pay salary arrears amounting to Rs. 5 lakh to only 40 employees till 2001. It is now apprehended the rest of the 216 employees who had not joined the MC withdrew funds totalling Rs. 20 lakh as arrears, though no records are available with the civic body.?