J&K ACB Registers Case Against SMC Officials, NGO For Corruption

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Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered a case against officials of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and an NGO for alleged fraud, corruption and embezzlement of public money, a spokesperson of the anti-graft body said.

A joint surprise check was conducted by the ACB to look into the allegations of fraud, corruption and embezzlement of public money by NGO “M/S Social Welfare India” and officials of the SMC in the construction of individual household latrine (IHHL) units under Swatch Bharat Mission, he said.

The spokesperson said it was established during the surprise check that vide an agreement, 218 IHHLs, at Rs 17,490 per unit, and nine twin storage pits, at Rs 12,000 per pit, were to be constructed by the NGO and citing the work done, the NGO submitted a completion certificate in respect of aforesaid constructions appending therein the list of beneficiaries.

The SMC commissioner got the matter verified through the engineering wing of the SMC comprising the then executive engineer and junior engineer and they submitted a physical verification report to the commissioner that said IHHLs and twin storage pits have been constructed as per the SBM/SMC guidelines, subsequent to which an amount of Rs 38,81,612 was released in favour of the NGO, he said.

The spokesperson said it has come to the fore that not a single unit has been constructed by the NGO and the engineering wing of the SMC submitted the false verification report to higher-ups facilitating release of huge amount of money in favour of the NGO against the non-existing work.

The SMC officials in league with the NGO by sheer abuse of their official positions and for their own pecuniary benefits submitted a false verification report thereby facilitating the release of Rs 38,81,612, and causing a huge loss to state exchequer and undue benefits upon the NGO and themselves, he said.

Accordingly, he said, a case was registered against the SMC officials, which included then executive engineer SMC Maroof Ahmad, then junior engineer SMC Javaid Iqbal Shah, and NGO director and general secretary Zaheer Abbas Bhatti and Ishrat Ashraf Shah.

On Saturday, the spokesperson said, in compliance to the court order of Friday, searches were conducted in residential houses and offices of the accused persons and incriminating material/documents have been recovered.

The investigation of the case is going on, he added.

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