Srinagar, May 27: A multi-crore scam has been unearthed in Municipal Committee (MC) Shopian where officials resorted to swindling millions of rupees in the name of fuel expenses shown in record, reliable sources said. They added that higher authorities have miserably failed to take fraudulent officials into task who in a well-designed plan set ablaze the evidential record of the Committee in 2018.
Sources told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that like other Municipal Committee’s across J&K, gross misappropriation of funds has been reported in MC Shopian where millions of rupees have been embezzled against the bills shown as fuel expenses in official record.
Sources disclosed that from last three years, there has been gross misuse of official funds reported in MC Shopian where some blue-eyed officials having ‘no accountability’ withdrew millions of rupees in the name fuel charges to official vehicles. “Twenty-thousand liters of diesel have been shown in official record during two-three years by officials of MC Shopian and swindled millions of rupees”, they said.
They said that auditors meant for checks and balances of book-keeping, also failed to raise their fingers against embezzlement of funds during audit. “It has become a routine in all MC’s across J&K to get documents and receipts signed and stamped by auditors in lieu of hefty amount of bribe”, sources said.
MC Shopian, as per sources, is facing dearth of manpower since years and all affairs of the Committee is being run by an employee of National Information Centre (NIC) along with a lady employee who is appointed under SRO scheme. “There is a dearth of officials from many years. We have MC’s like Pahalgam, Ashmuqam, Kokernag and others where you see ten Junior Assistants at least are serving but when you talk of MC Shopian it lacks everything. There is no Junior Assistant, Senior Assistant and Head Assistant due to which all affairs of the Committee are being mishandled”, reliable sources told KNS.
In Pulwama’s Tral area, authorities have deputed two Tax Inspectors for forty shops but in Shopian we have three-hundred and fifty shops with toll’s one crore revenue recorded per annum without any official deputed there, sources said, and added “All affairs of MC Shopian is carried out by a blue-eyed employee namely Irfan Jalla, Assistant Tax Controller who allegedly burnt entire record of MC Shopian in year 2018 with the assistance of other functionaries of the department in order to keep embezzlement of funds into hide.
Sources said that despite misappropriation of funds in the Committee and fiddling with evidential record, authorities have failed to initiate action against the erring employees which apparently depicts a nexus between blue-eyed employees and higher-ups in the department. “Be it Commissioner Secretary, Deputy Commissioner Shopian or else, all officials have so far failed to take stern action against fraudulent employees who misused their official positions while looting public money”, sources told KNS.
Director Urban Local Bodies Kashmir (ULBK) Riyaz Ahmad Wani while talking to KNS said that “I am highly thankful to you for bringing the matter to my notice. Surely I will constitute a committee who will submit its findings within a month and action must be initiated against those involved in misappropriation of funds”.
Wani said, “Be it the matter of utilization of fuel or generation of revenue, department will not shy away taking culprits into task”, and added “Whosoever will be involved in swindling money through fraudulent means will face stringent action from the department”, he added.