Whistle-blower in home guards salary scam arrested for burning documents
Noida police arrested the “whistle-blower” in the alleged home guards salary scam for burning the muster rolls of the force since 2014, which were kept in the office of district commandant in Surajpur, Greater Noida on November 18.
Police said the “whistle-blower”- platoon commander Rajeev Kumar - too was in on the scam and ratted out his seniors after they denied him commission. Police claimed he allegedly burnt the muster rolls after he realised that his seniors may escape the probe and implicate him and others in the constabulary in the scam.
The arrested platoon commander Rajeev Kumar had given a tip-off to the Gautam Budh Nagar police chief in July this year about the alleged scam after he allegedly stopped getting a “commission” from his seniors, police said.
The police had registered a case against unnamed officials on November 13 for the alleged fraudulent withdrawal of salaries of 114 home guards personnel for 1,327 days, amounting to about ₹7 lakh, after fudging attendance records. Records at the district commandant’s office were found burnt on November 18, the day when the case was transferred to the crime branch.
Five officials, including divisional commandant Ram Narayan Chaurasia and assistant commandant Satish Chandra, were arrested in the case.
SSP Vaibhav Krishna said a special investigation team (SIT) under SP (City) Vineet Jaiswal was constituted to probe the burning of muster rolls.
“In the video footage, we found that a shawl-clad man wandering near the spot just after the incident. Later, our team found that it was platoon commander Rajeev Kumar. He is the same person who had complained about this scam to me in July. We have also recovered the rod which he used to break the locks of the commandant’s office and the bottle of kerosene oil that he used to burn the rolls,” Krishna said.
Krishna said Kumar was a tout in the alleged scam. “However, after some time, his commission wasn’t paid by his senior, due to which he turned hostile and informed me about the scam,” Krishna said.
The SSP said it cannot be ruled out that the links of this scam are connected to many other districts of the state. During the Lok Sabha elections this year, home guards personnel from Gautam Budh Nagar were deputed in other districts and they were given half their remuneration in advance as is done in cases of outstation duty.
The SSP said Kumar was reportedly thrashed in Kannauj for not paying advance salaries to personnel as their counterparts there refused to pay him the commission. “In Agra, even those personnel were marked present against whom Kumar had given adverse remarks in his duty report. When things went awry in Bahraich in the allotment of duties and disbursement of salary advances, Kumar lodged a complaint to the divisional commandant about discrepancies in disbursing the amount,” he said.
Krishna further said the platoon commander used to increase the man days of personnel deployed in several administrative offices in the district. “He told the police that he burnt all documents to save touts who are mainly part of the constabulary. He had an apprehension that higher officials involved will manage to save themselves from the investigating agencies,” he said.
When asked about the exact span of time from which this scam was taking place, the SSP said, “We have some inputs that it began in 2002. The superintendent of government observation home, too, had filed a complaint about these irregularities with the district commandant, but since the commandant was himself involved in it, nothing tangible could take place. We will sift through all records, and nab all guilty officials involved,” he said.
“Gross financial irregularities took place at every level. And, since it happened for quite a significant time in many other districts, this scam may run into crores of rupees,” he said.
The SSP, however, refused to divulge the details about the statement given by the arrested home guard officials during their police custody that ended Tuesday. “On the basis of their information, we have recovered some forged muster rolls and seals from Modinagar. We will arrest a few more officials soon,” he said.