Seven officials of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation have been removed following an inquiry into the theft of blank pro formas, used for printing birth and death certificates, from its offices. The case has now been handed over to the CBI for further investigation.
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A sub-registrar of the birth and death records of the corporation — the highest official of the department — has been suspended and six data entry operators have been “removed”. The case came to light after nearly 20,000 pro formas were stolen from the corporation’s Karol Bagh office in May this year.
North Corporation commissioner P K Gupta told The Indian Express that the internal inquiry pointed to some “systemic failures”, which is why those involved in the theft of the pro formas have been removed. The inquiry was initiated to look into similar incidents in the past, which may not have been noticed, and “look for loopholes”.
“Between 2012 and 2014, we got 14,000 adoption verification cases. This is abnormal. We normally get 300-400 cases, but this number is far too high. This also led to a suspicion,” the Commissioner said. The corporation is tasked with issuing a fresh birth certificate after adoption documents are verified.
On October 6, Gupta had informed the standing committee of the corporation that passport offices had reported about 49 cases of fake certificates and the vigilance department was investigating the matter. He had also stated that the preliminary vigilance inquiry pointed towards the “negligence and involvement of our senior officers”.
As a reform, the commissioner said, the civic body will take the process of issuing birth and death certificates online. As of now, only registration of births and deaths are done online, while certificates are issued physically in the corporation’s zonal offices.
Civic officials had earlier flagged a security threat as the original pro formas could be misused by filling in required details and be forged to secure other documents or put citizens at risk of identity theft.