Ghost employees scam : Principal Secy orders verification of staff of MC branches, seeks report : The Tribune India

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Ghost employees scam : Principal Secy orders verification of staff of MC branches, seeks report

Civic body chief told to inform govt in 15 days after taking action to recover funds from bogus staff

Ghost employees scam : Principal Secy orders verification of staff of MC branches, seeks report

The MC's Zone-D office in Ludhiana. Photo: Ashwani Dhiman



Tribune News Service

Harshraj Singh

Ludhiana, March 1

After a scandal involving ghost employees (bogus employees who received payments from the civic body) rocked the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) in January this year, the Principal Secretary of the Department of Local Government, Punjab, has now ordered the verification of employees from all branches of the Ludhiana civic body. The Principal Secretary instructed the MC Commissioner that this report, after verifying the employees, be sent to the government.

Regarding the issue of the identified bogus employees, the Principal Secretary instructed the MC Commissioner to take necessary legal action to recover funds from unauthorised recipients. The civic body chief has been asked to report to the government within 15 days after taking action in the matter. The committee, formed by the MC for investigation, has also been directed to send a weekly status report on the ongoing inquiry to the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO).

In January, seven employees of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation were suspended for allegedly transferring step-up payments (arrears) worth around Rs 2 crore to bank accounts of the 44 bogus employees. Afterwards, an FIR was also registered against the seven employees and the names of the 44 bogus employees were also mentioned in the FIR. Later, the MC identified 30 more bogus employees. A total of 74 bogus employees have been identified so far, as per information.

Notably, a city-based resident had also complained to the Department of Vigilance against payments made to the bogus employees in the Municipal Corporation. Subsequently, the Department of Vigilance wrote to the Principal Secretary of the Local Government to take action as per rules in this regard.

Now, in the letter (dated February 26) written to the MC Commissioner, the Principal Secretary issued instructions that the MC officials concerned be bound to immediately send the record that was earlier sought by the Chief Vigilance Office regarding the bogus employees. The MC chief has been instructed that the government be informed in 15 days after taking action to recover the amount paid to unauthorised beneficiaries (bogus employees).

Furthermore, the Principal Secretary said the probe committee at the MC level had been attached to the office of the CVO to investigate how many such wrongful payments had been made to individuals other than the identified bogus employees. The member secretary of the MC’s probe committee had been directed to submit the status report regarding the ongoing investigation to the CVO every Monday.

In addition to giving instructions for the verification of the employees from all branches of the Ludhiana MC, the Principal Secretary further instructed that it must be ensured that salaries or allowance-related payments were paid to the employees only through the portal of the Integrated Human Resource Management System.

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