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Our Economic Bureau/
“If any of them just had spare 5-10 minute on the bank statements , this Srijan NGO would not have managed to grab cores of government’s money,” is the common allegations level particularly on top ranking district officials and auditors in general here.
Residents in this scam- ravaged city have started murmuring : “how could a district magistrate ignore his/her responsibilities particularly when the matter is concerned with financial matters- isn’t it the indication of failure of entire system ?”
Similarly, question over the role of the auditors who were assigned for auditing government’s accounts is also raised after the investigating agencies underlined once of most ‘irresponsible’ attitudes which ultimately resulting once of the biggest financial embezzlement of government money in Bihar.
The SIT which earlier started investigations into the scam after the district administration registered different FIR with local PSs against the Srijan NGO in relation with the scam, sniffed some major mistakes done by the officers concerned and the auditors.
“Had the district higher authorities, particularly the auditors concerned not relied on the suspicious banks’ statements and properly examined bank statemnets, Srijan scam would have not been taken place in such a big format,” an officer of SIT pointed out.
FIRs filled by district administration, alleged bank concerned for concealing facts by producing fake bank statements. But in course of investigation, it appeared clearly that the concerned higher officials in the district along with the auditors who earlier conducted the audits of the district magistrate’s accounts, failed to understand suspicious entries apparent from the statements or just ignore their professional obligations towards such huge financial irregularities, the officer blamed.
Continuous fraud could not be countered by the district administration or auditors concerned as they reliance on the fake bank statement even they could not doubt on fake statement otherwise they would have obtained confirmation of balance certificate from the concerned bank manager whereas the fact is that the bank statement apparently appears as doubtful.
Pointing out some missing facts in the FIRs which were done by the district administration after conducting initial investigation, sources pointed out one such FIR (now notified by CBI), case No RC 21720 17A0014 on dated 25/8, bank of Boroda and Indian bank, Bhagalpur Vs/ in-charge, district treasury office, Bhagalpur. The FIR alleged that the funds of Rs 93, 23, 1000 were transferred to the Srijan bank by fraudulently while obtaining the cheque books of the account held in the name of district magistrate, Bhagalpur, from the banks and subsequently with fake signature of the district magistrate , the funds were transferred on regular basis. Moreover district magistrate could not know about the continuous fraud as he relied on the fake bank statement produced to the office of district treasury. Even auditors could not doubt on the fake bank statements with the treasury office.
“Had the auditors or persons concerned including the district magistrate, Bhagalpur would have doubted the fake bank statements they would have approach the bank and the scam would have been disclosed earlier” the source climed.
The total amount of interest in a year as reflected by the fake bank statement also apparently creates the doubt as stated by the investigation conducted before institution of FIR that the total interests received was Rs 8171950 only. Total quantum of deposit held with the bank during the year apparently creates the doubt about the application of less amount of interests by the bank.
“Whether the fake bank statement was apparently reliable or not, as the copy of the bank statement of the bank account held in name of district magistrate, Bhagalpur (S/B account 10010100012588 bank of Boroda, Bhagalpur) enclosed with the FIR speaks something different ?” an important question raised by the source.
The statement reflects that the interests was regularly applied by the bank on 6 monthly basis twice in a year on 31 January and 31 July where as the fake statement states that the interest was applied by the bank on January 14, 2012 than on Nov 6, 2012.The detail as mentioned in the fake statement in relation to the interests applied Nov 6, 2012 states that it is for the period January 1, 2012 to October 31, 2012. The date of application of interests and the period for which interest was applied raised the doubt about the genuineness of the bank’s statement. Subsequent entries in related to the interests as reflected by the bank statements also raised the doubt as the amount of interest credited by the bank is very less as compared with the balances shown by the bank’s statement. There was sufficient reasons to suspect the bank statement, it is a matter of investigation why the office of the district treasury and auditors could not suspect, the source underlines.
The other point as stated by the district administration that as there was no instance of dishonour of cheques, they could not know about the fraudulent transfers from their account to Srijan bank. As a matter of fact cheques were not issued in time rather abnormal delay was caused in issuance of cheques to the respective departments which actually prevented the dishonour of cheques. If the cheques were issued well in time to the respective departments certainly due to lap of funds, cheques would have been dishonoured at that time. It is matter of investigation whether the persons responsible to issue the cheques had intentionally delayed in issuance of cheques or it was due to mare negligence. It is also a matter of investigation that when the district treasury office relied on the fake bank statement which reflects the availability of the funds, even than why cheque was not issues in time to the respective departments ?
“A district magistrate is the custodian of all transactions and the auditors responsible for auditing the government accounts, how ignore their responsibilities in such mistakes?” observers pointed out. They further said that there might be many more such instances in other departments where the financial embezzlement were reported in relation with Srijan scam.