Misappropriation of retirement benefits of police personnel has come to light, following an inquiry conducted by the District Crime Branch (DCB) sleuths here.

The swindling is said to have been discreetly done by a head constable attached to the Armed Reserve Police for over a year. Though the size of the actual money thus diverted is not known, for this month alone over Rs. 30 lakh to be paid to superannuated police personnel was not deposited in their bank accounts.

Police sources said that usually the government would release retirement benefits through Treasury. The bills would later be collected by the designated person from the department and deposited in the individual bank accounts of the retirees.

But, for the past one month, at least seven police personnel who retired from service did not get the benefits amounting to over Rs. 30 lakh. Hence, they took up their cases with the Tamil Nadu Retired Police Personnel Welfare Association, which, in turn, made a representation to Superintendent of Police A. Radhika.

She ordered DCB personnel to probe the matter. It was made known that Senthilkumar (38), a head constable attached to the Armed Reserve Police, had been entrusted with the task of depositing money in individual bank accounts.

Last month, the superannuation benefits were released for seven retired personnel as follows: D. Selvaraj – Rs. 5.1 lakh, M. Masilamani – Rs. 4.75 lakh, D. Kesavan – Rs. 4.76 lakh, T. Dharmalingam – Rs. 4.86 lakh, Solomon – Rs. 1.96 lakh, Kannayiram – Rs. 3.03 lakh and Amirthalingam – Rs. 5.86 lakh. But, when the personnel approached the State Bank of India branch at Manjakuppm to withdraw money, they were shocked to hear that no deposits were made in their accounts. Investigation revealed that the amount found its way into the account of Murali, a resident of Nellikuppam, who quit police service and happens to be a friend of Senthilkumar.

Getting scent of the investigation, Senthilkumar has gone underground. Sources said that Murali was not entitled to get even Rs. 1.10 lakh as salary for a year, even if he was in regular service . But, in the past one year, monetary transactions amounting to over Rs. 1.88 crore had taken place through his bank account.

The modus operandi of the accused seems to be to keep the money in Murali’s account till claims for superannuation benefits are made by the personnel concerned. Senthilkumar would make arrangements to deposit a part amount in their accounts to create an impression that everything was all right.

In the meanwhile, police secured Murali and during inquiry, he denied any knowledge of the bank transactions in his personal account. He admitted to having handed over his bank pass book and Automated Teller Machine card to Senthilkumar.

Police suspect that the racket might run deeper because they are not sure how many such bank accounts (of his accomplices) are being operated by Senthilkumar. In this connection the police have booked cases under four counts: Sections 408, 420, 465 and 477 A of the Indian Penal Code and launched a hunt for Senthilkumar.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Retired Police Personnel Welfare Association said in a statement that such misappropriation would not have taken place without the complicity of some bank staff.