1cr embezzled from P’kula MC: Staffer arrested; ULB had flagged his unlawful activities a year ago

A year ago, Haryana ULB officials had informed Panchkula MC commissioner and executive officer about him and asked them to dismiss the accused but no action was taken
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Updated on Mar 20, 2020 12:41 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByYuvraj Kaushal, Panchkula

A day after a case was registered in connection with the embezzlement of funds to the tune of 1 crore from Panchkula municipal corporation’s bank account, the prime accused, Shravan Kumar, was arrested on Thursday. The accused was working as town financial inclusion expert (TFI), in Panchkula MC’s city mission management unit (CMMU).

The money embezzled was part of funds under national urban livelihood scheme’s integrated housing and slum development programme. Officials privy to the investigation said that during interrogation, the accused disclosed several facts related to the matter.

It has come to light that city project officer in Narnaul, Mahendragarh district, Haryana, had sent a report to Haryana urban local bodies (ULB) in August 2018, informing them that Shravan Kumar was a fraudster.

“As per initial investigation, it has been learnt that an official from Narnaul had submitted a report that the accused had been involved in unlawful activity there, too. He was allegedly a hacker and an expert in forging signatures,” an official said. Sources said in March 2019, ULB officials had also asked Panchkula MC commissioner and executive officer to dismiss the accused but no action was taken.

The agency through which Shravan Kumar was appointed on contractual basis was also informed about his unlawful actions.

Police said they will also question MC officials as their involvement cannot be ruled out. The accused has disclosed the names of five persons with whose help he had carried out the process.

Money transferred to 46 persons
Officials privy to the investigation said the amount was transferred to bank accounts of 46 persons, and some of the accounts stil had the money. For the process, Shravan Kumar used to guide his accomplices. “The accused had planned everything and most people in whose accounts the money was transferred are not aware as to whom the money belonged to. Due to friendly relations, the amount was transferred in their accounts on pretext of commission,” an official said.

Sources said that among the recipients were a contractor of a Sector-7 construction company and some men from Raipur Rani, Barwala. It has been learnt that transactions ranged from the amount of 45,000 to 1.5 lakh at a time.

THE CASE
The Panchkula MC on Wednesday had complained to the police that 1.01 crore was fraudulently transferred from their Punjab National Bank account in favour of unidentified persons, despite the fact that RTGS was not authorised by competent authorities. It was alleged that signature mentioned on the stamp of the executive officer in the RTGS was forged, whereas clear-cut instructions were given to the bank to honour RTGS only on joint signatures of commissioner/executive officer and senior accounts officers.

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