Following an internal probe in the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), the Delhi government Tuesday said 98 per cent of the fare collected at 20-odd bus depots since demonetisation was in old notes. The matter has now been handed to the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) for investigation.
Last week, Transport Minister Satyendar Jain had ordered a probe into allegations that some DTC officials had been depositing large amounts of demonetised currency as bus fare in banks.
Jain had ordered the chairman-cum-managing director of the DTC to conduct a detailed inquiry. It was alleged that some officers in the DTC had been exchanging their own Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes against smaller value notes collected from passengers as fare before making the bank deposits.
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On Tuesday, Jain said, “We found that as much as 98 per cent of the earnings from around 20 depots were deposited in old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. This money, collected between November 8 and November 19, when the probe began, amounts to Rs 8.15 crore. That this money has been received from commuters who usually pay for tickets in Rs 5 or Rs 10 is not possible…”
He added, “Since these notes were declared illegal tender on November 9 and the government had specifically, in a written order, directed all DTC staff not to accept demonetised notes, these fare depositions in old notes are illegal and a criminal act. So, we have transferred the case to the ACB for a criminal investigation into the incident.”
Jain said irregularities had been found in about half of the city’s 43 depots. But many depots, such as Sarojini Nagar and Ambedkar Nagar, did not deposit a single note of banned currency since November 8, he said.
Each conductor is supposed to deposit fare collected the previous day at his respective depot on a daily basis. Jain said that apart from conductors, even senior staffers, whose job it is to deposit the money in bank outlets every day, could be involved.
“In the internal probe we ordered on November 19, we found that fares had been deposited in banks in old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. We also found that the mandatory pay slip a depositor has to submit while making a deposition were missing at several depots. So we are not only suspecting conductors who could have exchanged old notes after charging a commission, but there are strong chances that depot staffers who handle the cash and banking duties at the end of the day have cleared out black money on behalf of senior DTC officials,” Jain said.
Earlier this month, Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay had written to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung about the issue.