After seizing the official records and arresting the Executive Engineer and Cashier, the Crime Branch (CB) has unearthed double drawl scam in PHE Division Handwara. The official records from 2008 to 2014 also indicated that large chunk of money was illegally withdrawn by the officials but were never used for any works.
Reports said that during the investigation of Ramhal water supply scheme ‘fraud’ in PHE Division Handwara, it came to fore that then Executive Engineer Muhammad Afzal and Cashier Muhammad Maqbool Bhat have resorted to fraud in the Division and have withdrawn the salaries of some 65 employees illegally. Besides, the 15 cheques worth Rs 32 lakhs have also been seized by the Crime Branch.
“The fraud was pin pointed by my predecessor Iftikar Ahmed. While checking the records of the Division he found each employee in the Handwara Division had withdrawn the salary twice in a month. He also find out, money had been withdrawn from the Bank for some schemes under which no work ever was done in the Division,” present Executive Engineer PHE Division Handwara Zafar Ahmed told CNS.
He siad soon after the fraud was pin pointed the Chief Engineer handed over the case to Crime Branch that unearthed the scam. “Fraud has not only been committed in the Ramhal water supply scheme, but in other works as well. Besides the then Executive Engineer Muhammad Afzal and Cashier Maqbool Bhat have resorted to double drawl. The salary of the field employees drawn by the accused used to go into the bank accounts of two contractors Tawseef Banday and Younis Bandey whom we have called to Crime Branch for questioning,” a Crime Branch official said adding that the quantum of the scam is huge.
Both the accused Executive Engineer and the Cashier have been arrested and are being questioned.
An official from PHE Division Handwara who wished not to be named said that the accused Executive Engineer and Cashier also committed fraud in Marsari-Pachkoot Water scheme that was supposed to give benefit to 65,000 inhabitants of 35 villages of Ramhal Block of district Kupwara. “The PHE department was supposed to spend Rs 5 crore and 87 lakh under this scheme. The Cashier being a trusted worker of a former minister every time saved his skin by resorting to political pressure tactics,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Muzafar Ahmed Lankar told CNS that the accused Cashier has been suspended. “We can’t initiate action against the accused Executive Engineer as he had been transferred to some other department,” he said.