Civil surgeon office scam: VB shifts case despite probe nearing end

  • Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: May 15, 2016 15:47 IST
The civil surgeon office (HT File Photo)

The vigilance bureau has transferred the inquiry into suspected embezzlement by the Jalandhar civil surgeon’s office to Hoshiarpur, raising eyebrows as the probe was about to be complete.

In February this year, a team of vigilance sleuths led by inspector Subhash Kumar was appointed to probe purchases made by the civil surgeon’s office between 2012 and 2014. There had been allegations of officials issuing multiple invoices for the same set of items purchased.

But on Saturday, vigilance inspector Major Singh, deputed in Hoshiarpur, confirmed he had been asked to take over the probe. He said he will begin work soon.

Sources say a few of those quizzed by the earlier probe team had complained against the investigators to vigilance’s top officers, saying they were “not cooperating”.

As part of the probe, the earlier team had grilled former civil surgeon Dr RL Bassan as and asked him questions pertaining to utilisation of funds by his office during his tenure.

It had also grilled other staffers, including a storekeeper and an accountant, taken possession of bank statements of the civil surgeon’s office.

The vigilance had also recorded the statements of nine officials members who were part of the then purchase committees —district health officer Dr Jasbir Singh, district family and welfare officer Dr Gurmeet Kaur, then assistant civil surgeons Dr BS Multani, Dr M Bali and Dr Tarsem Singh, then Jandiala senior medical officer Dr Varinder, medical officer Dr Surinder Kumar, then epidemiologist Dr Satish Kumar, and then district programme officer of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

The members had briefed the probe team about the role of members and chairmen of the purchase committees during the period 2012-13 and 2013-14.

The team was expected to submit its report soon as the three-month probe period had ended.

The case

Copies of invoices purportedly issued by surgical firm Dev Surgical Industries mention purchase of an LCD computer and other items, but firm claims it did not deal in such products.

Invoice number 28 shows the civil surgeon’s office having purchased an LCD computer, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system, a printer and a central processing unit (CPU) with a DVD writer from the firm. An invoice of Rs 38,867 was issued to the office with `2,217 as VAT by the firm.

Invoice number 32 and 33, with the same amount for the same products, were issued the same day. The same products were again purchased by the civil surgeon’s office on January 4, 2015, against invoice number 37 for the same amount.

Dead shown as beneficiaries, officer embezzled Rs 32 lakh

Vigilance sleuths on Saturday arrested Majhail Singh, an agriculture development officer posted at Dasuya, in a financial embezzlement case.

Majhail is alleged to have misappropriated government funds to the tune of Rs 31.9 lakh, along with another agriculture officer, Dhanwant Singh.

Vigilance inspector Major Singh said Majhail had alleged misused funds meant for farmers to get subsidised seeds, spray pumps, insecticides and fertilizers under the cluster system in the sowing seasons 2012-13 and 2013-14.

He said Majhail and his accomplice made fake entries in registers and even shown dead farmers as beneficiaries.

“We recorded statements of hundreds of farmers who claimed not having received the incentives. We collected death certificates of dead farmers who were shown as having received the benefits,” Major Singh said.

Major Singh said the other accused had fled abroad after taking pre-mature retirement.

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