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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Vadodara: Two VMC employees held for ‘forging’ list of beneficiaries of PMAY housing draw

The two accused have been booked under various Indian Penal Code sections including for criminal breach of trust by public servant entrusted with any property (409), forgery (465), and forgery of a valuable security (467).

By: Express News Service | Vadodara |
Updated: August 13, 2021 1:36:43 am
VMC, Vadodara municipal corporation, vadodara, vadodara police, PMAY housing draw, Gujarat news, Indian express news, indian expressThe two accused allegedly forged the list of beneficiaries of a Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) housing draw. (Representational/Express photo)

The Vadodara city police Thursday arrested two employees of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), one of whom is the Executive Engineer of the Affordable Housing cell of the VMC, for allegedly forging the list of beneficiaries of a Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) housing draw, conducted on August 7 as part of the nine-day celebratory events to mark the five years of the Vijay Rupani-led BJP government in the state. An FIR filed by City Engineer Shailesh Mistry has alleged that the two employees manipulated the original list of the draw to ‘insert names’ of those who were not chosen as beneficiaries during the official draw.

Navapura police station in Vadodara arrested Pramod Vasava, who is the VMC Executive Engineer for Affordable Housing, PMAY, MGY, BSUP, RAY, Ajwa and Nimeta Plant, along with Nishit Pithwa, an expert of the VMC’s Management Information System (MIS) for allegedly uploading a forged list of beneficiaries of the housing scheme on the official website of the VMC. The PMAY housing draws for 382 units was conducted at the hands of BJP Manjalpur MLA Yogesh Patel, who is also a Minister of State in Gujarat for Narmada and Urban Housing Department, on August 7, observed as ‘Vikas Divas’ by the state government.

Mistry, who is the complainant in the FIR filed at Navapura police station, has said, “The VMC had entrusted the task of immediately taking out print copies of the list of beneficiaries, following the housing draw, at the venue itself to MIS expert Nishit Pithwa and a clerk Ashwin Rajput was appointed to assist him. He was instructed to immediately stamp the print copy of the beneficiaries list with a seal of the VMC. He had to retain one copy with him and provide the information regarding the draw allotments to the beneficiaries and anyone who asked for it. The authorized officer concerned (Vasava) had to certify the copy of the list of beneficiaries. This copy would then be uploaded on the website of the VMC by the MIS expert.”

Mistry has further stated that the civic body received complaints that the list uploaded on the website of the VMC did not match the list that was displayed on the public screen at the event, where the beneficiaries were allotted homes. “We summoned the copy of the printout taken at the venue — one of which was with the deputy engineer and another, which was with Pithwa and had been certified by the Executive Engineer (Vasava). The discrepancy was clearly visible in both copies. We also scanned the video recording of the event to revisit the names listed on the screen and it was clear that the original list of the draw was different from that which was uploaded on the website.”

“Pithwa confessed that Vasava instructed him to upload a copy of the list that he sent to him separately on his mobile phone. Vasava also asked him to re-run the Computer Draw Programme to include the names of those ‘beneficiaries’ who had been left out in the original draw. Thereafter, Pithwa drew up a new list by running the computer draw programme and Vasava certified it. Pithwa has given in writing that he then uploaded the new copy on the website of the civic body as per Vasava’s instructions,” the FIR states.

Mistry said, “The forgery came to light because we received complaints from some beneficiaries, who had spotted that their house unit allotment number was different on the list uploaded on the website from that which was displayed on the screen at the event..”

Mistry said that of the 382 beneficiaries, 42 bogus beneficiaries were added to the forged list uploaded by the duo while the allotment numbers of several other beneficiaries had been altered. “Of the 382 units, there was a huge demand for 150 units. We had received 751 forms for those 150 units and the bogus beneficiaries have been added in that set of the housing units,” Mistry said.

The two accused have been booked under various Indian Penal Code sections including for criminal breach of trust by public servant entrusted with any property (409), forgery (465), and forgery of a valuable security (467).

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