Sulabh International and three other NGOs have been named in an FIR lodged by the State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) for embezzlement of funds in construction of toilets under a government scheme in Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh.
The embezzled amount is estimated to be up to Rs 2.98 crore. Two officials deputed with SUDA were suspended on Friday.
As much as Rs 240 crore has been spent to construct toilets in 53 districts across the state. Officials suspect that similar embezzlement may have taken place in other areas. Already,inquiries are being conducted in Hardoi and Shahjahanpur districts.
During an inquiry,it was found that payments were made to four NGOs,including Sulabh,for construction of toilets in Rampur district and one-third of the toilets were never constructed.
The probe,conducted in May and June by a task force constituted under B K Yaduvanshi,Joint Director of SUDA,found that between 2009 and 2011,payments of Rs 9.09 crore were made to four NGOs for construction of 9,140 toilets. Of these,6,156 toilets were found to exist. A total of 2,984 toilets,against which Rs 2.98 crore had been paid,did not exist.
Based on an inquiry report,an FIR has been lodged against nine people in Rampur and recommendations for suspension of two officials as well as disciplinary action against others have been sent to their department, Shiv Shankar Singh,director,SUDA told The Indian Express. We are also getting complaints from other districts. A potentially larger scam in the scheme cannot be ruled out.
Hints of a similar toilet scam are surfacing in the Panchayati Raj Department.
The FIR was lodged on June 23 at Civil Lines Police Station,Rampur,under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant),420 (cheating and dishonesty),467,468 and 471 (forgery),and 7/13 of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Those named were Chintamani,former director of SUDA; V K Srivastava,former Finance Controller of SUDA; R K Tiwari,Project Officer in the District Urban Development Agency (DUDA) in Rampur; A K Kaushal,Assistant Project Officer in DUDA and the then Project Director-cum-ADM of Rampur,whose name was not known.
While Tiwari,an employee of the Kanpur Nagar Nigam who was on deputation with SUDA,and Kaushal,an UPTRON employee,have been suspended,recommendations for disciplinary action against Chintamani and Srivastava have been sent,said Singh.
The FIR also included the name of S R Imam,Controller of Sulabh International Social Organisation at Lucknow; Nand Kishor Singh,President of Ajeet and Kanchan Gramudyog Vikas Sansthan,Moradabad; Nikunj Sharma,Co-Secretary of Chetana Seva Sadan at Saharanpur,and Rajeev Kumar Singh Chauhan of Rani Memorial Society at Lucknow.
S R Imam of Sulabh International denied the charges. We have constructed all the toilets in Rampur. During the inquiry,the officials should have taken one of our men along to verify the toilets. They did not even serve us an official show-cause notice seeking explanation,but lodged an FIR against us, Imam said.