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Probe unearths Rs 36-lakh salary scam in Punjab govt school, clerk booked

A first information report (FIR) was registered on Wednesday by the Shahkot police against clerk Sukhwinder Singh for creating ‘ghost’ teachers and withdrawing salaries worth Rs 36.6 lakh from the department during three financial years.

punjab Updated: Mar 23, 2018 15:43 IST
Jatinder Mahal
Jatinder Mahal
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Rs 36-lakh salary scam,scam,Punjab govt school
The inquiry report also found retired school principal Gurmail Singh and retired drawing and disbursing officer (DDO) Satnam negligent in performing their duties, as it was during their tenure that the scam occurred.(HT File/Representative image )

A scam of more than Rs 36 lakh has been unearthed in Government High School at Talwandi Madho village in Shahkot here. A clerk, appointed by the education department in the school, was allegedly drawing salaries of the teachers, who were no longer on rolls of the school from 2014 to 2017.

A first information report (FIR) was registered on Wednesday by the Shahkot policeagainst clerk Sukhwinder Singh for creating ‘ghost’ teachers and withdrawing salaries worth Rs 36.6 lakh from the department during three financial years.

The FIR was registered following an inquiry conducted by a five-member committee of the state education department, recommending legal action against the clerk to recover the money.

The inquiry report also found retired school principal Gurmail Singh and retired drawing and disbursing officer (DDO) Satnam negligent in performing their duties, as it was during their tenure that the scam occurred. Their role is still investigated.

The committee, comprising education department officials, that inquired into the scam, sent its report to the Punjab education secretary, who later recommended action against the clerk, The investigation is on to find the role of other staff, an education official said.The accused clerk has been absent from duty since March 21, 2017. The inquiry was ordered on May 22, 2017 by the education department.

As per information from sources in the education department, the scam had been going on for four years.

“During the inquiry, it was found that the clerk had been withdrawing salaries of ‘bogus’ teachers and transferred the amount in different bank accounts for three years. The clerk is suspended and police are conducting further inquiry into the matter,” district education officer (secondary) Satnam Singh said.

According to the inquiry report, clerk Sukhwinder, in alleged connivance with officials of the Shahkot treasury office and some other staff, was drawing salaries of those teachers who had already left the school, or not teaching in the school but were being shown as working on the rolls.

Education officials said that, according to rules, no person other than a specially designated government clerk can be given username and password for uploading salary bills of employees online. Later, the school head examined the records before getting clearance from the DDO for salaries of school staff.

Shahkot DSP Sandeep Kumar Malik said that a case under section 499 (defamation), 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) has been registered against the accused clerk.

First Published: Mar 23, 2018 15:43 IST