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GMCH official held in pension scam

Guwahati, Sept. 2: Police today busted a pension withdrawal racket that has been flourishing at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) for over 10 years now. Four persons, including hospital deputy superintendent Ranjit Kumar Deka, were arrested.

Over this decade, pension was drawn against the names of fictitious persons, though they were shown as grade IV employees of the GMCH.

Senior superintendent of police (city) Nitul Gogoi said the investigation carried out so far indicated that the financial scam started in 1994 and continued till 2005. A grade IV employee draws a monthly pension between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000.

Police said some employees of the accountant-general’s office and treasury office are also involved in the pension-related financial scam.

“Fake pension papers were initiated in the names of grade IV employees, particularly sweepers, by the GMCH’s establishment and pension branch. Fake death certificates, photographs and various other documents were prepared and sent to the accountant-general’s office for approval of the pensions,” the SSP said.

“Some employees of the accountant-general’s office, in connivance with the GMCH staff, approve each pension and prepare the pension payment order (PPO), which is sent to the treasury office. The treasury office prepares the pensions and the money withdrawn is shared by a section of employees of the treasury office, the accountant-general’s office and the GMCH,” Gogoi explained.

GMCH superintendent P.K. Ojha said he was not aware of the details of the scam. “We are yet to receive any official information from the police about the scam detected by them. So I won’t be able to comment on this,” he said.

The other three persons arrested in connection with the scam have been identified as senior accountant of the accountant-general’s office Sanjib Majumdar and GMCH sweeper supervisors Srichand Valmiki and Amarjit Singh.

Altogether 98 fake PPOs have been seized from the accused.

The police investigation revealed that crores of rupees of government money have been siphoned off.

“More arrests are likely in this case as the investigation is still continuing,” the SSP said.

Controversies have been dogging the GMCH, one of the premier healthcare institutions of the Northeast, over the past few months.

On August 29, three MBBS first year students of the GMCH were arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Assam police on charges of forgery.

The probe revealed that someone else had appeared on behalf of these three students — Partha Pratim Bora, Sultan Ahmed and Seikh Mohammad Shahi — in the admission test.

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