One held in flood relief scam second case

Days after registering a second case in the embezzlement of funds from the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF) in the distribution of relief to the victims of the 2018 deluge, the C-Branch has registered the first arrest in the case. Vishnu Prasad, who served as clerk in the CMDRF section of the district collectorate and is the key accused in the first case, was the one arrested. He is being kept at the Thrikkakara police station and will be produced in the court on Tuesday.

Vishnu who was released on bail last week after being arrested in the first case over three months ago, continues to be under suspension.

The probe team stumbled upon a second and even bigger embezzlement suspected to be running in excess of ₹50 lakh even as they were investigating the first case related to the misappropriation of over ₹27 lakh.

The second case was that the amount refunded by beneficiaries for being considered for a bigger relief amount was embezzled by the accused by forging fake receipts. It is suspected that a good part of over ₹1 crore refunded against such receipts was embezzled. Meanwhile, it is also known that in some cases receipts were issued for only half of the amount returned.

The Additional District Magistrate had filed a petition in this regard in addition to another pliant for fabricating fake receipts.

The C-Branch had interrogated many serving and retiring officials and examined documents at the district collectorate before proceeding to arrest Vishnu in the second case. An investigation is under way to find out whether more persons were involved in the second case as well.

Even the first case had progressively got bigger with the estimated misappropriation rising from an initial ₹10.54 lakh to ₹27.73 lakh and the investigation into the case was still under way. The probe in the first case continues with computer hard disks seized from the house and office of the first accused being examined. It is suspected that funds were diverted by manipulating the beneficiary list and the Bill Information Management System date of failed transactions in the treasury account.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 3:40:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/one-held-in-flood-relief-scam-second-case/article31782703.ece

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