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Monday, August 03, 2020

Chandigarh cops’ salary accounts be audited by CAG: Police dept

A fact-finding probe has already indicted six policemen in the case, including former police official Balwinder Kumar, the then Salary Branch in-charge.

Written by Saurabh Prashar | Chandigarh | Published: August 1, 2020 5:18:03 am
chandigarh cops, salary scam, CAG audit, Police dept, Indian express news The UT police have also initiated the process of recovering the surplus credit amount in the salary accounts of at least 79 police personnel. (Representational)

The Chandigarh police department has recommended a special audit of the UT police personnel’s salary accounts by the office of Comptroller of Auditor General (CAG) at Sector 17, in view of the embezzlement of lakhs of rupees from the government funds into the salary accounts in the last three years.

The audit was recommended for the period of last 10 years. The Chandigarh police department has around 6,500 personnel.

The recommendation was made to the UT’s Finance department by the office of SP (Crime) Manoj Kumar Meena, who is probing the scandal. The finance department accepted the recommendation and forwarded it to CAG. The UT police have also initiated the process of recovering the surplus credit amount in the salary accounts of at least 79 police personnel.

The embezzlement of government funds was detected in February, when 40 salary accounts of police personnel were found to have credited huge money with fake entries of inflated conveyance allowances and ration/food allowances, among others. In some cases, salary account holders were allegedly not aware of the arrival of money in their accounts.

Sources said, “During investigation, the suspected salary accounts increased from 40 to 79. Most of these salary accounts are of constables and head constable (HC) rank police personnel. They expressed ignorance about the money credited into their accounts, despite not submitting any medical bills, TA/DA forms etc. So far, police investigation suggests the scandal was going on for the last three years.”

SP Manoj Kumar Meena said, “The process of recovery of money from at least 79 salary accounts has started. We have recommended a special audit from CAG as well. I cannot divulge the exact loss of the government funds. The process of special audit can be started anytime. Investigation pertaining to forgery, cheating, embezzlement and criminal conspiracy is also going on.”

DGP Sanjay Baniwal is supervising the probe.

A fact finding probe had already indicted six policemen, including a former cop Balwinder Kumar, who was then posted as the incharge of salary branch.

The five other accused policemen, including HC Mukesh Kumar, Yogender, Ved Parkash, constable Rajbir, Jatinder and woman constable Usha Devi were also attached with the salary branch.

Subsequently, an FIR under charges of forgery, embezzlement and Prevention of Corruption Act (PC) Act, 1988, was lodged at PS 3.

Section Officer Jagdeep Singh Shrewat had been heading the salary branch when the embezzlement was unearthed.

Assistant Controller (Accounts & Finance) Sudhir Parashar conducted an internal probe in the matter, concluding that an in depth probe was required against members of the salary branch including its incharge Balwinder Kumar.

He mentioned in the report, “The salary of Section Officer Jagdeep Singh Sehrawat for the entire tenure of in the police department checked and nothing was found overpaid.”

The probe officer maintained, “Role of two previous section officers -Jaspal Singh and Ravinder Kumar – need to be verified in details.”

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