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High court orders PF probe

Ranchi, Sept. 22: Jharkhand High Court has pulled up the state government over the alleged misappropriation of public money, including provident funds.

The court also put the role of officials at the treasury and provident fund office at Deoghar under the scanner. It ordered chief secretary Lakshmi Singh to probe the 'fraudulent withdrawal' of provident fund money belonging to draftsman Girija Nandan Sharma and submit a report soon.

Ordering the probe, a bench headed by Justice Tapen Sen today observed: 'It is a very serious matter of government misappropriation of funds. Officers of the treasury and provident office at Deoghar seem to be directly involved. The chief secretary is directed to conduct an enquiry and submit its report within 10 days.'

Sharma, a senior grade draftsman in the office of the water resources department's executive engineer, Deoghar had approached the high court for realising money fraudulently withdrawn from his provident fund account.

Sharma worked at the office of the superintending engineer till his transfer to the water resources department in 1997.

After his transfer, Sharma approached the district provident fund office seeking the money that had accrued to him. The office of the district provident officer told him in a letter dated June 26, 1997 that only Rs 29,819 was due to him.

Knowing this to be wrong, Sharma asked the provident fund office asking for more information. The district provident officer wrote back to him saying Rs 54,000 accruing to his account had been withdrawn by his department between July 27, 1992 and April 28, 1994.

The officer also said the water resources department had fraudulently withdrawn the money and the onus to pay Sharma lay on the department. He added that the department should conduct an inquiry and those found guilty made to pay up the amount due to the draftsman.

The matter was also referred to the accountant-general who said after investigation that Rs 8.69 lakh had been misappropriated by the water resources department officials and the district provident fund office.

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