Development funds worth Rs 6.90 lakh ‘embezzled’; FIR against VDO, panchayat secy

  • Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Sep 23, 2016 14:00 IST
After an inquiry by panchayat department which detected bungling of a huge chunk of government money, the Bhogpur police have registered a criminal case against panchayat secretary and village development officer. (Representative image )

A case of embezzlement of government funds worth Rs 6.90 lakh has come to light in Sangrawali and Giganwal villages of the district.

After an inquiry by panchayat department which detected bungling of a huge chunk of government money, the Bhogpur police have registered a criminal case against panchayat secretary and village development officer (VDO) under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against them on the complaint of block development and panchayat officer (BDPO) Bhogpur Neeraj Kumar.

As per the first information report (FIR) against then panchayat secretary Mohammad Iqbal Shah and VDO Harpreet Singh, a grant of Rs 11.36 lakh was received by Sangrawali panchayat.

A complaint was received about embezzlement at the office of deputy commissioner. The district development and panchayat officer (DDPO) wrote to Hoshiarpur BDPO-1 to ask panchayat secretary Mohammad Iqbal Shah to record his statement at his office on August 27, 2016, but the BDPO wrote that Shah has gone on leave for three days from August 26 and August 29.

Only VDO Harpreet turned for recording his statement in which he stated that he joined as VDO on April 16, 2015, in Sangrawali village and received Rs 3 lakh for the gym, Rs 2 lakh for cremation ground for schedule caste.

He submitted that he did not undertake the entire process for using grants as he was recruited in 2012 and Shah, who was then panchayat secretary, signed the cheque books.

During probe, it came to notice that the VDO and panchayat secretary withdrew Rs 11.71 lakh but spent only Rs 4.81 lakh for streets and drains.

Further, Rs 42,000 of auction amount was also not submitted by Shah when he was the panchayat secretary of Giganwal village.

Meanwhile, Shah also failed to produce records of Sangrawali panchayat with the inquiry officer. Shah was also facing FIR in scam into rent collections of shops belonging Bhogpur panchayat Samiti.

Then, inquiry was sent for the legal opinion after which FIR was filed against them. SHO Bhogpur police station Lakhvir Singh said the accused are absconding and teams have raided several places to nab them.

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