Press Trust of india

J&K ACB arrests NGO director for embezzling funds under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

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Jammu: The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday night arrested a director of an NGO for allegations of fraud, corruption and embezzlement of public money worth over Rs 38 lakh under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan in Jammu, officials said.

A joint surprise check was conducted by the ACB to look into the allegations against an NGO named Social Welfare India and officials of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) regarding the construction of Individual House Hold Latrines (IHHL) units under Swachh Bharat Mission, they said.

During the investigation, it was established that an agreement was made for 218 IHHL and nine twin-storage pits to be constructed by the NGO and it submitted a completion certificate in respect of aforesaid constructions attaching the list of beneficiaries, they added.

The SMC commissioner got the matter verified through the engineering wing and physical verification report was submitted to the commissioner that the IHHL and twin-storage pits have been constructed as per guidelines, subsequent to  which an amount of Rs 38,81,612 was released in favour of the NGO, they said.

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

The officials of SMC were in league with the NGO and abused their official positions for their own pecuniary benefits by submitting false completion and verification report that led to the release of Rs 38,81,612. This has caused a huge loss to the exchequer apart from undue benefits for the NGO and themselves, they said.

Accordingly, a case was registered in ACB Srinagar branch against the officials of SMC which included then SMC Executive Engineer Maroof Ahmad, then SMC Junior Engineer Javaid Iqbal Shah, and office bearers of the NGO Zaheer Abbas Bhatti (Director, Social Welfare of India) and Ishrat Ashraf Shah (General Secretary, Social Welfare of India), they added.

They said that the investigation of the case is under progress.

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