Karnataka

One more bill irregularity emerges

Bills were raised to siphon off ₹11.73 crore in the Irrigation Projects Department in Kalaburagi division and Tungabhadra Left Bank Canal Project in Munirabad division.  

The bill scam, which has been detected in Karnataka Neeravari Nigam (KNN) where accounts officers allegedly connived with contractors to raise bills for work not implemented, has now gone up to ₹28.35 crore.

While eight fake bills worth ₹16.62 crore were found to have been raised in Hipparagi Barrage Canal Project in Athani division initially by eight officials to help two contractors, it has now been detected that 20 bills were raised to siphon off ₹11.73 crore in the Irrigation Projects Department in Kalaburagi division and Tungabhadra Left Bank Canal Project in Sirawar in Munirabad division by 16 officials to help six contractors.

Same modus operandi

Similar to the bill scam in Hiipparagi project, these fake bills have been raised for works that do not exist. Neither tenders were called nor works were executed in these cases.

In the normal course, the file for bill clearance is prepared by the field staff, including Assistant Engineer or a Junior Engineer based on the work in progress, which is then moved up to the office of the Chief Engineer after scrutiny at multiple levels. After the due process is followed, it is then sent to the office of the Chief Accounts Officer where it is checked again before the money is released to the contractor. In these cases, the fake bills were prepared and cleared in the Accounts Department.

The officials have been accused of creating fake documents to support release of funds directly to the accounts of contractors. Of the 16 officials involved in the case, one official passed away and 10 officials have retired.

Five suspended

The remaining five serving officials have been placed under suspension, and directions have been issued to initiate criminal action against the 15 officials/retired officials and six contractors.

The government on Saturday ordered freezing of bank accounts, and the Department of Stamps and Registration has been directed not to allow any transactions in immovable assets in the name of accused officials and their family members.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 11:08:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/one-more-bill-irregularity-emerges/article37742334.ece

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