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CBI books SI of Sashastra Seema Bal for forgery, cheating

Central Bureau of Investigation HQ, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked a Sub-Inspector (Ministerial) of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and others for alleged forgery, cheating and conspiracy in fraudulent Leave Travel Concession (LTC) claims made by over 750 officers and personnel of the force.

Sub-Inspector Milan Kherkatary has been accused of being instrumental in institutionalising the illegal practice, operating as a travel agent and providing fake air/train tickets, boarding passes and other related documents.

In its complaint, the SSB also raised security concerns stating that the beneficiaries travelled on edited tickets, but none of the agencies operating at airports, including airline staff and Central Industrial Security Force personnel, detected it. Such activities went on for about four years. The names of two Air India officials, Sunita Kumar and Kamal Kishore, beside travel agents at Port Blair and Havelock Island, have also surfaced.

The fraud first came to light in 2018. While 25 such cases involving false claims of over ₹27 lakh were detected initially, further enquiries revealed the names of at least 754 officers and personnel with respect to the claims made from 2014 to 2017.

They had all got their tickets through Kherkatary, who illegally booked tickets of personnel posted at the force’s headquarters and the 25th Battalion, SSB-Ghitorni. He is also suspected of having provided tickets to other persons outside the SSB.

The main accused received commission for inflating the fare amounts by editing the tickets. He printed fake tickets, boarding passes and other documents. The beneficiaries produced fake travel tickets, without actually undertaking the journey; or partially undertook the journey and submitted false claims; or inflated the fare amounts; or visited a different place other than the one disclosed in the LTC claim.

Enquiries revealed that Kherkatary operated as a travel agent, held several credit cards in his name and that of his wife. He also used the credit cards of some SSB officers. According to the complaint, it was very likely that a racket was being operated at the SSB headquarters, in which he was a key operator.

“People have been able to enter the airport through these fake tickets, get boarding passes and undertake journey on the edited tickets,” said the FIR, adding that the Accounts Branch of the SSB could not detect the forgery, indicating that either the boarding passes were printed using the original black formats or the duplicates were of high quality. The main accused also used the air miles/Flying Returns points for booking air tickets.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 10:14:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbi-books-si-of-sashastra-seema-bal-for-forgery-cheating/article33580948.ece

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