After an incident in which water and sewerage bill entries in the municipal corporation’s (MC) consumer database were falsified surfaced recently, civic officials have decided to verify all such entries made since April 1, 2006.
The exercise is aimed at ascertaining the financial losses incurred by the MC due to the fraud in which two employees, Jasbir Kaur, a computer operator, and Razia, a clerk, allegedly tampered with the database in exchange for money. Both were later suspended by MC commissioner Pradeep Aggarwal pending a full inquiry.
After the matter came to light, civic officials have voiced apprehension it was not an isolated case and that many other MC employees might also be involved in the racket.
According to sources, MC officials noticed the discrepancy in computer records after Kaur falsified entries of water and sewerage bills of a consumer that had swelled to about Rs 1 lakh over the past few months. Data on water and sewerage bills fed into computers are also entered manually in registers.
“A bill for Rs 1 lakh was fudged by entering an amount of Rs 13,000 instead and the bill was cleared. Later, when the property owner came to get a tax superintendent register number 1 (TS 1) certificate and claimed he had already cleared his water and sewerage dues, the register in which the bill details are manually recorded was checked. When the bill amount entered there was found to be Rs 1 lakh, senior officials smelt a rat and ordered an internal inquiry.
It has been reliably learnt that an independent MC councillor used to get entries of water and sewerage bills that had piled up falsified with the help of the suspended computer operator. The civic body has now decided to get all the records examined by independent auditors.
Manjit Singh, chief of the MC’s operations and maintenance cell, said all entries of water and sewerage bills made from April 1, 2006 are being checked. “The data will then be sent to auditors in Chandigarh to enable us to assess the size and magnitude of the financial losses incurred. The MC may later seek an FIR against the two suspended employees for committing fraud,” he added.