A former sarpanch Jaspal Singh of Kotli Kalan village in Mansa has been booked for siphoning off old-age pension of dead claimants.
Complainant Dharampal Singh, a former panchayat member, had received information through RTI that old-age pension of Rs 250 each had been issued against the names of five persons who had already expired.
Pension for Laxmi Devi, who expired in August 2011, was released from June 2011 till April 2012. Four other people, under whose name the pension was released, are Pratap Singh, Gurdev Singh, Niranjan Singh and Vidya while the total amount, which has allegedly been siphoned off is Rs 3,750.
Jaspal Singh, accused of the fraud, has been booked under Section 420 of IPC and the case was registered on Sunday in Mansa Sadar police station. The complainant further alleged that he relentlessly pursued the case with the district social security officer but to no avail.
"Jaspal is associated with the Akali Dal and he enjoys close proximity with top officials in the district. Hence, the delay in the registration of the case. By March, I had received all the details of the deceased people receiving pension and raised this issue with almost every officer concerned but no FIR was registered," said Dharampal Singh.
Meanwhile, the police said that they had issued a notice to the accused and asked him to produce all the records which will help in the investigation.
"We have asked the accused to produce all the records so that we can verify the claims of fraud. A week has been given to the accused to do so. We have also come to know that the accused has already deposited back the amount with the social security department on June 25," said SHO Buta Singh.
The current sarpanch Simranjit Kaur expressed ignorance about the issue. "I don't have any information about any such case registered against the former sarpanch."