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Updated: April 15, 2014 13:51 IST

Advertising fraud in I&PR department unearthed

Marri Ramu
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City police officials had examined several officials of the Information and Public Relations (I&PR) department in connection with alleged siphoning off of crores of rupees in the name of telecasting Government ads through TV channels.

Investigators found that while some of the channels, which were paid money, didn’t exist, mandatory procedures were not followed in releasing money to other channels. Probe held so far indicated that nearly Rs 8 crore were misappropriated with the alleged connivance of some officials.

“This is only with regard to ads given to TV channels operating in and around Hyderabad. Similar frauds in other parts of the State cannot be ruled out,” an investigating officer seeking anonymity informed.

After registering a criminal case a few weeks ago following a complaint lodged by a local cable TV channel from the Old City, the Hyderabad Central Crime Station (CCS) sleuths inquired with the owners of the channels. They found the TV channel owners were paid far less amounts than that were shown in the records available with the department.

While the probe was in progress, the authorities suspended a senior assistant of the department, Majid, for alleged malpractices in releasing money to the channels. Investigators had also sent a questionnaire to I&PR Commissioner Dana Kishore and also sought clarifications from him.

The chief engineer, regional engineer and other officials concerned with the release of ads were also examined. When investigating officials verified from the 63-odd TV channels that had really telecast the ads for which money was paid, it was found that “twelve channels existed only on paper and some were local channels run by cable operators,” said the CCS officials probing the case.

When contacted Mr. Dana Kishore said he had replied to the questionnaire sent by the police while other officials of the department too were examined. He maintained that disciplinary action was initiated against Majid soon after the fraud committed by him came to light.

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