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Gazetted officer in cop net for embezzling funds

The Anti Corruption Branch on Tuesday arrested a gazetted officer of the Social Welfare department for misappropriating funds by making fraudulent purchases for the child home run by the department — Bal Sadan.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 4, 2009 12:45:38 am

The Anti Corruption Branch on Tuesday arrested a gazetted officer of the Social Welfare department for misappropriating funds by making fraudulent purchases for the child home run by the department — Bal Sadan.

An internal inquiry by the Delhi government had revealed the fraud by department official Mahesh Kumar Sharma in 2007. But no action was taken until an NGO,Pratinidhi,took the RTI route — this led to a complaint being lodged with the Anti-Corruption Branch.

Sharma had allegedly made the purchases in 2005 with help of two other officers,Rajeshwari Chauhan and R K Sharma. Sharma was earlier working as District Officer (North),but continued to make fraudulent purchases in the name of Bal Sadan even after his transfer.

Purchases of bedding and clothing worth several lakhs were put down on paper for the financial year 2004-05,although investigations are now being conducted on how many of these purchases actually reached the home. A comparative quotation from Nafed,Kadhi Gram Udyog,DCCS,Gurukul Gramin Shilpstore and Neelkanth (the last two non-existent firms) was obtained by officers M K Sharma,Rajeshwari Chauhan and R K Sharma on June 30,2005. The dispatch register,however,showed no letter being sent to any of these agencies. An anganwari is being run at the address provided for Gurukul Gramin Shilpstore.

“We are investigating the quantum of the fraud at present,” said Additional Commissioner (ACB) N Dilip Kumar.

Following at RTI filed by Pratinidhi in 2007,social welfare official Saroj Rawat had investigated the purchases made for Bal Sadan,following which the fraud came to light. “Despite the full nature of the fraud being made clear to the government,no action was taken. Saroj Rawat’s inquiry report was not even forwarded to seniors,” said Raj Mangal who heads Pratinidhi.

The Anti Corruption Branch will also arrest Rajeshwari Chauhan,who had previously been arrested for other fraudulent purchases made for Majnu Ka Tilla House run by the Social Welfare department and is currently out on bail.

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