Moga BDPO, panchayat secy suspended for embezzling Rs 58.55 lakh
This scam was committed when the model code of conduct was in force.punjab Updated: Aug 19, 2017 10:49 IST
Three months after HT highlighted the embezzlement of panchayat funds to the tune of Rs 58.55 lakh at Dhurkot village of the district, the Punjab government has suspended block development and panchayat officer (BDPO, Moga-1) Jaspreet Singh and panchayat secretary Karam Singh for their alleged role in the scam.
The move comes after the then district development and panchayat officer (DDPO) Ravinderpal Singh held Dhurkot village sarpanch Sarabjit Kaur along with Karam Singh and suspended BDPO Jaspreet Singh guilty and recommended legal action against them for the embezzlement. BDPO Jaspreet is already under suspension for embezzlement for another village grant scam, which was also highlighted by HT.
“Both the officials have been suspended and further action will be initiated soon,” Siban C, director of the department said. When asked that Jaspreet was already under suspension, Siban C said he was suspended in this case as well.
In a report on May 7 this year, HT had highlighted as how the village sarpanch in connivance with panchayat secretary embezzled Rs 57.60 lakh village grant.
However, after inquiry officials get assessed the development works at the village and the scam was pegged at Rs 58.55 lakhs from Rs 57.60 lakh. The probe also indicted the suspended BPDO, after the officials found transactions of more than Rs 25,000 from the panchayat account, which can only be possible with the involvement of an official such as BDPO.
Panchayat secretary Karam Singh had directly transacted Rs 3.50 lakh into his personal account.
Dhurkot village in Moga block-1 had received a grant of Rs 71 lakh from the government last year in the form of compensation when the village common land was acquired for four-laning of the national highway-71 (Jalandhar-Barnala).
Of Rs 71 lakh , over 57 lakh was withdrawn between January 1 and March 31 this year from the panchayat account and was shown as spent on development works in the village. But not a single penny was spent on any development work from this money.
Moreover, the whole grant was spent during the period when the poll code of conduct was in force and no official is allowed to withdraw even a single penny from the government exchequer for any purpose.
Why BDPO is under suspension
BDPO Jaspreet Singh was suspended on March 22 this year, after HT highlighted embezzlement of Rs 26.6 lakh at Ramuwala Kalan village panchayat in the same block.
Besides Jaspreet, the state rural development and panchayat department had also suspended Moga-1 panchayat secretary Rajwant Singh and directed retired IAS officer RC Nayyar to hold a probe into the matter.
This scam was also committed when the model code of conduct was in force. Sources said Jaspreet enjoys political patronage.
First Published: Aug 19, 2017 10:49 IST