Punjab: Two Kharar block officers suspended for Rs 2-crore scam
The Punjab government has suspended two block development and panchayat officers (BDPOs) and recommended registration of a first-information report (FIR) against them after unearthing an alleged multi-crore scam during a special audit of the Kharar panchayat samiti.
Punjab financial commissioner (rural development and panchayat) Anurag Verma on Sunday identified the two officials as Jatinder Singh Dhillon and Malvinder Singh.
In a press release, the financial commissioner stated that Rs 22 lakh were transferred to the Majatri gram panchayat on February 5, 2016, from the Kharar BDPO funds even as no such demand had been made. Also no estimate was prepared for the grant and no such resolution for works was passed by the gram panchayat, the audit had found.
Later, on June 6 that year, the amount was transferred to a private firm, Kaura Cement Store, in Sanour. However, even after 17 months, no work was carried out in the village, pointing to embezzlement of Rs 22 lakh.
Similarly, Rs 25 lakh were issued to Majat village and Rs 12 lakh to Todar Majra village, which were immediately transferred to Kaura Cement Store.
This amount too has not been used for any development works in the villages, the audit had found.
Anurag Verma said between December 2016 and March 2017, Rs 60 lakh were transferred to a contractor, Mukhvinder Singh, for works in seven villages: Bathlana, Cholta Khurd, Kurdi, Siao, Gudana, Kurdi and Malakpur.
However, the panchayats concerned or the samiti passed no resolution for these works. The tender was never floated or allotted to any firm before releasing the amount. Also, the contractor carried out no development work in any of the villages.
The financial commissioner said the inquiry also found that the BDPO had transferred another Rs 91 lakh to the same contractor for which no appropriate records were found with the panchayat samiti.
Of the total Rs 1.51 crore, Rs .23 crore has been found to be bogus expenditure. For example, the Kharar panchayat samiti has shown Rs 30 lakh booked for works at Balongi colony even as the same works had already been carried out. Verma said after initiation of inquiry into the scam, the contractor had deposited Rs 36.5 lakh in the panchayat samiti accounts.
After rural development and panchayat minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa’s approval, the Mohali district development and panchayat officer has been directed to lodge an FIR in the scam.
• Rs 47 lakh transferred to a Sanour-based private firm for works at Majatri and Todar Majra villages in 2016. However, neither any demand was made nor any work was carried out.
• Rs 60 lakh transferred to a contractor for works in seven villages — Bathlana, Cholta Khurd, Kurdi, Siao, Gudana, Kurdi and Malakpur — between December 2016 and March 2017. No tender had been floated and no work was carried out.
• Rs 91 lakh were transferred to the same contractor for which no appropriate records were found.