Fraud by BSNL employees in Aligarh unearthedApril 4th, 2010 - 10:55 am ICT by IANS
By Nabeel A. Khan
Aligarh, April 4 (IANS) Many of the taxis hired by the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) office in the past decade for official reasons have turned out to be scooters and tractors, pointing to a massive fraud, a Right to Information Act activist has discovered.
Bimal Khemani, an RTI activist, claims to have uncovered a multi-crore rupee fraud in hiring taxis for official transport by BSNL authorities in Aligarh between 1997 and 2008. “It is a very curious case of embezzlement of funds by the BSNL authorities,” Khemani told IANS.
He claimed that BSNL officials fudged records to embezzle funds. “They used fake and fictitious registration numbers for taxis to embezzle crores of rupees of public money,” he said.
“First, I filed an RTI application in the BSNL seeking details of the taxis hired by them for official purpose. Then, I filed another RTI plea with the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Aligarh, and discovered that a majority of the registration numbers provided by the BSNL (for taxis) were actually of scooters,” he said.
Khemani filed the first RTI plea in January 2010 seeking details of the taxis hired by the BSNL authorities in Aligarh. He received the reply in February 2010 in which he got the registration numbers of the vehicles.
He filed his second RTI application with the RTO. In March 2010, he received the reply which showed that some of the registration numbers of taxis provided by the BSNL were listed as scooters, motorcycles, jeeps and tractors with the transport office.
IANS also got access to the documents that pointed to the anomaly.
A.K. Gupta, general manager, BSNL, Aligarh, denied having any knowledge of the matter. “As of now, I cannot speak anything on this, it will take time to find out,” Gupta told IANS.
As part of his RTI initiative Khemani also obtained one of the agreements signed by the BSNL with a travel company owner, Shiv Kumar Sharma, in 2001. “I tried to trace this person but could not,” the activist said.
(Nabeel A.Khan can be contacted at email@example.com)
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