Funds under State scheme siphoned off for already built houses

A case of embezzlement and impersonation committed in 2009-10 fiscal has come to light in which a panchayat secretary and a former panchayat president’s role are seen.

The government should have lost Rs. four lakh, investigations suggest. Following a complaint from Kenjampatti panchayat president Subramani that funds to the tune of Rs. 3.85 lakh had been siphoned off, Collector Anshul Mishra directed the Assistant Director (Audit) to conduct a probe.

It was found that under the Indira Awaaz Yojana (group housing scheme), a proposal to build 34 houses was made by the officials in Kenjampatti panchayat. Upon scrutiny of applications, nine were rejected and it was decided to construct 25 houses and payments were taken in phases and disbursed to contractors.

However, the elected representatives suspected foul play. A scrutiny of the records and enquiries with the beneficiaries unravelled the irregularities. According to the findings, in the process of preparing the list of beneficiaries, the panchayat staffers, in collusion with panchayat secretary Arjunan and the then panchayat president Pandi, had resorted to impersonation. At least seven beneficiaries figuring in the list had already built houses during 1991-92 and in 1999. As the names appeared again, the officials, instead of deleting them, had withdrawn the money giving an impression that houses were built for them as well.

The records were seized and the report also suggested departmental action against the staffs entrusted with the task of supervising the central housing scheme at the site and in preparing bills. Assistant engineers and block development officers in charge of the jurisdiction should also be subjected to enquiry and made accountable.

Mr. Mishra suspended Kenjampatti panchayat secretary Arjunan until further orders.

He instructed the officials to lodge a complaint with the police for registering a criminal case and action, a press release issued here on Thursday said.

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