The Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has terminated its Rajkot district project officer (DPO) of disaster risk management programme for tinkering with bills and defrauding the government to the tune of around Rs1.5 lakh. GSDMA terminated Rajkot DPO Suneel Tewari on July 12 after the district collector sent a report to the authority informing it of the irregularities the officer had indulged in.
Tewari tinkered with bills for printing material for disaster mitigation training and raising public awareness in late 2013 and early 2014, officials of Rajkot district administration said.
Under the disaster risk management programme, SGDMA conducts training, builds capacity to respond to disaster at district and taluka levels and conducts public awareness programmes. A DPO, who works under the supervision of the respective district collector, is the executing officer for such activities.
“Auditors brought to our notice that the DPO had tinkered with bills to inflate the amount. For example, he turned a Rs 350 bill into Rs 3,500 by adding a “0” to the figure. In all, the auditors found that he had inflated bills worth around Rs1.5 lakh,” resident additional collector (RAC) of Rajkot, Atul Gor said.
The DPO acts as executive officer of a district. The RAC said the district administration had recovered the amount with interest from Tewari before reporting the matter to top GSDMA officers in Gandhinagar early last month. When contacted, Tewari said he had already deposited the amount with interest with state treasury and that he would meet GSDMA chief executive officer this week seeking his reinstatement.