Seven officials of Amritsar Improvement Trust booked for siphoning govt funds
The officials allegedly transferred the money from government accounts in their relatives’ name, and the scam remained under wraps due to want of departmental audit, Sidhu said.punjab Updated: Sep 10, 2017 21:20 IST
Punjab local government minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday said that seven Amritsar Improvement Trust officials have been booked for allegedly siphoning of government funds.
The probe into the matter has been handed over to the police after an enquiry by the local government department, he told reporters.
“Investigations started with three bank accounts. There was an inkling that the scam was around Rs two to three crore. But, after the department took the probe further, the net widened to 70 accounts and now there is a possibility that around Rs 80 crore could have been siphoned,” the minister said.
The officials allegedly transferred the money from government accounts in their relatives’ name, and the scam remained under wraps due to want of departmental audit, Sidhu said.
On the basis of the probe, headed by the department’s chief vigilance officer (CVO) Sudip Singh Manak, the police have registered a case against Arvind Sharma, D C Garg, Paramjit Singh, Daman Bhalla, Tina Vohra, Sanjay Kapoor and Satnam Singh, he said.
The minister said that allegedly 49 cheques used to withdraw the money had Sharma’s signature, two were signed by Garg and three by Paramjit. The officers will be suspended and charge-sheeted, he said.
Freedom has been given to the police to investigate the matter to put those guilty behind the bars, Sidhu said.
Kapoor, the CA of the department, never cared to probe the scam in spite of the fact that the government auditor raised 631 objections on the works being carried out by these people, he claimed, adding that a third party audit of all the trusts would be carried out.
“The matter pertaining to the alleged irregularities in the installation work of the highest tricolour near the Attari-Wagah border has also come to light and it was being probed,” Sidhu said.
The department’s CVO said that the modus-operandi of the accused was to deposit the money meant for trust’s improvement in different bank accounts and then make withdrawals on the pretext of various works such as disbursal of salaries.
Besides, it has also come to the fore that these people made drafts in the names of their relatives and got them encashed, he said.
Manak said that many of the bank accounts were not even entered in the cash book of the department and more disclosures could be in the offing.
Deputy commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha and the commissioner of police S Srivastav were also present.