Nuh: 7 dead receive wages under MGNREGA for a year, nine booked
The Nuh police on Monday registered a case against nine people for allegedly issuing job cards under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MGNREGA) scheme fraudulently to 87 people, including seven who have died, and causing a loss of ₹21 lakh to the state exchequer in the last one year, said police on Tuesday.
Police said officials of the Block Development and Panchayat Office(BDPO) and irrigation department in connivance with bank employees and a private contractor planned the fraud and opened bank accounts of the 87 people with forged documents.
The chief minister’s flying squad received a complaint in January, following which a team was formed. It took the team six months to collect data and record statements of more than 100 people before the alleged fraud came to light .
Rajesh Kumar, deputy superintendent of police (DSP), CM’s flying squad, said they have unearthed the scam of ₹21 lakh, where they found wages under the scheme were being deposited into the bank accounts of seven men, who died in 2011, 2015 and 2017, for working as labourers.
“It was shocking to find that people who died long ago, those who were working as Haryana Roadways drivers were not spared and shown as labourers. On questioning their family members, we found that they were not even aware their identity cards were used for the fraud. When we started investigation, we found the addresses mentioned in the record did not exist and many of them were used fraudulently. We prepared a report and submitted to Nuh police, following which a case was registered on Monday,” said Kumar.
A case under sections 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using forged document as genuine), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant or by banker) of the IPC was registered at Rozka Meo police station of Nuh. No arrests have been made so far, said police.
In January, Sukhbir Singh, a resident from Nuh, filed a complaint at a public grievance portal--CM window-- and also wrote to home minister Anil Vij, deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala stating that under the MNREGA scheme in Nuh, funds were being released to people who are dead. “He had said that officials of different departments forged documents to open bank accounts, got the money transferred into the accounts of the ‘projected’ labourers and later distributed the money among themselves,” said Kumar.
During investigation, the DSP said, it came to the fore that the BDPO office, Indri, and officers from the irrigation department had shown 87 people involved in the works of Indri Link drain and Khedli Kankar Link drain under the MNREGA scheme.
“The officials had issued wages but the work was never assigned nor done on the ground. They engaged a private contractor, who had cleaned a portion of the drain to get pictures,” said Kumar adding that the two drains were to be cleaned by local job card holders under the MNREGA scheme.
After obtaining records from different departments, the investigating team found the cleaning work was carried out by a JCB machine of one Salim, a resident of Ted Mohammadpur village and not by the job card holders. The muster roll manuals were prepared in the name of 87 people from Rivasan and Khedli Dausa village with forged documents.
The bank accounts of these job card holders did not match with the details fed in the muster rolls and in fact, all bank accounts were fake as Salim, the JCB owner, was the only witness when the bank accounts were opened and the payments made, said police.
“Investigation revealed that the seven against whom job cards were issued--Bishan Singh, Prakash, Hansraj, Mahipal, Ratiram, Hemraj, Mahendra, all residents of Khedli Dausa village-- were dead while two other job card holders--Ramautar and Jairam from the same village--have been employed at the Haryana roadways depot, Nuh, since 2008,” said Kumar.
Among the government officials who have been booked are a junior engineer, a sub-divisional officer of the irrigation department, block development and panchayat officer, assistant block development and panchayat officer, an accountant of the BDPO office, Indri, a cashier and a branch manager of a cooperative bank in Nuh.
Superintendent of police, Nuh, Varun Singla said, “We have registered a case and the Economic Offences Wing is conducting investigation”, he said.
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