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Scam of lakhs in Sikh riot relief

Bokaro, Oct. 23: A scam in anti-Sikh riot relief has been unearthed in Bokaro, in which more than Rs 71 lakh has alleged been siphoned off in one case and 13 “beneficiaries” have been identified for “cheating the government”.

Administrative sources disclosed that this was the tip of the iceberg as all the 13 persons identified to have received the compensation have agreed to return the money, which displayed the dubious role of some officials in the scam. A case against the guilty has been filed by a senior magistrate, Yugal Kishore Choubey, at Chas police station (case number 171/07) and early investigations say the fraud has been committed.

After New Delhi, Bokaro was the second city where more than 60 Sikhs lost their lives and property worth crore were damaged in the anti-Sikh riot following the assassination of Indira Gandhi in October 1984. After the Centre had decided on payment of compensation to victims, deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahto distributed more than Rs 1.5 crore worth of relief in April 2007.

The FIR filed by the magistrate stated that Sarvajit Singh Kalsi and Saryu Singh — the two sons of late Sardul Singh Kalsi — received a compensation of Rs 71 lakh in a case (124/04) lodged by their father at Balidih police station for a loss of 35 tolas of gold and Rs 19,000, besides other precious things worth more than Rs 2 lakh.

The DC ordered an inquiry in to the FIR and a five-member committee headed by director of district rural development authority C. Hansda was formed. In her report, the director found true that Rs 71 lakh was withdrawn though the compensation of only Rs 2.29 lakh was claimed.

“Involvement of top officials, including the SDO, in the scam cannot be absolutely ruled out,” said deputy commissioner Pravin Kumar Toppo from Mussourie. He added that no relief could have been distributed unless confirmed and verified by a few officials.

Sources said that the 13 Sikhs who had been found guilty of taking away several lakhs by fake medical bills have also been identified and complaints against them registered.

“They have accepted their crime and have promised to return the money,” a source said.

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