Crores ‘siphoned’ from social welfare schemes in Bhadohi

Review: Most beneficiaries ‘not eligible’,DM orders registration of case.

Written by SURBHI KHYATI | Lucknow | Published:April 13, 2013 3:26 am

The district administration of Sant Ravidas Nagar (also known as Bhadohi) has ordered registration of case of embezzlement after a review of several social welfare schemes revealed gross irregularities running into crore of rupees.

The review found ineligible beneficiaries in at least five schemes — National Family Benefit Scheme for families below poverty line,marriage or illness benefit scheme for Schedule Caste as well as general category BPL beneficiaries as well as pension schemes for the 2012-2013 financial year.

“The district budget for these five schemes is approximately Rs 31 crore,of which at least Rs 10 crore has been embezzled,” said District Social Welfare Officer (DWSO) Rinku Singh Rahi,who has been asked by the DM,Amrit Tripathi,to submit a detailed investigation report and register a case against the officials,employees,ineligible beneficiaries and the touts involved in siphoning away the government fund.

Rahi has also been told to recover the embezzled money from the accused by way of land revenue.

The DSWO and his team conducted physical verification of the schemes in 10 villages of the district and found that hundreds of ineligible people have taken the benefits of various schemes with the help of touts. For example,people who have taken advantage of the marriage and illness benefit scheme had married their daughters several years ago or had not married them at all.

“In one of the villages,it was found that out of the 46 beneficiaries of marriage benefit scheme,44 were ineligible. One of the cases even claimed marriage benefit for a five-year-old girl,” said Tripathi. Under the scheme,an assistance of Rs 10,000 for marriage and Rs 5,000 for illness is given to eligible candidates.

“Fraud has been committed in almost 90 per cent cases of marriage or illness benefit scheme and 40 to 50 per cent cases of pension schemes,” he added.

Since most of these fraud has been committed with the help of touts,the administration is planning to publish a public notice asking ineligible beneficiaries to return the money within seven days. After the end of seven days,said the DM,the administration will lodge the FIRs. “We will follow this up with a district-wide comprehensive physical verification of beneficiaries,” he added.

Probe master

District Social Welfare Officer Rinku Singh Rahi,who conducted the review of the schemes and found gross irregularities had earlier been instrumental in unearthing embezzlement in the post-matric fee reimbursement and scholarship scheme in Muzzaffarnagar. He survived a murderous attack during his posting in Muzzaffarnagar as district social welfare officer in 2009.

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