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Moga village grant scam: Inquiry indicts BDPO with sarpanch, panchayat secretary

Dhurkot village falling under 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 National Highway 71 (Jalandhar-Barnala road).

punjab Updated: Jun 24, 2017 19:59 IST
Parampreet Singh Narula
Parampreet Singh Narula
Hindustan Times, Bathinda
scam,Moga,village
Block development and panchayat office in Moga-1.(HT Photo)

An official inquiry into the Dhurkot village fund scam in Moga has found that grant of Rs 58.55 lakh were siphoned off from the bank account of the village, and indicted the sarpanch and two officials.

The scam was exposed by HT over a month ago, and the three officials indicted in the probe by district development and panchayat officer (DDPO) Ravinderpal Singh are sarpanch Sarabjit Kaur, panchayat secretary Karam Singh and block development and panchayat officer (BDPO) Jaspreet Singh. BDPO Jaspreet is under suspension for another village grant scam, which was also highlighted by HT.

“I have forwarded the inquiry report to the director of rural development and panchayat department recommending departmental as well as criminal action against the officials found guilty,” Dilraj Singh, deputy commissioner (DC), Moga said.

In its report on May 7, HT had found that Rs 57.6 lakh had been embezzled. However, after inquiry officials got examination of the development works done, the amount came out to be Rs 58.55 lakh, and it was found that the BPDO too was involved as transactions of more than Rs 25,000 from the panchayat account can only be possible with the involvement of an officer such as the BDPO.

SCAM EXPLAINED

Dhurkot village falling under 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 National Highway 71 (Jalandhar-Barnala road).

Of this, over Rs 57 lakh was withdrawn between January 1 and March 31 this year from the panchayat account and shown as spent on development works. But, not a single penny was spent on any such work.

Moreover, the 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.

In one instance, the panchayat secretary had directly transacted Rs 3.5 lakh into his personal account.

KNOW BDPO IS UNDER SUSPENSION

BDPO Jaspreet was suspended on March 22 this year, after HT highlighted embezzlement of Rs 26.6 lakh at Ramuwala Kalan village in the same block.

Besides Jaspreet, the 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.

First Published: Jun 24, 2017 19:56 IST