A recently appointed staff of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has been found to have siphoned off at least Rs 25 lakh from the salaries of labourersâ€™ bank accounts.
HMDA found the individual Srivinas C, working as a forest range officer at their Uppal plant nursery, to have been reverting the salaries after crediting them in the labourersâ€™ bank accounts.
He started working at the plant nursery barely seven months ago. HMDA has initiated an enquiry and has since removed Srinivas from their payroll.
He worked as a forest range officer - a supervisory post, and was in possession of the labourersâ€™ bank passbooks. Officials are yet to ascertain how the exact amount was siphoned off.
Speaking to TNM, HMDA metropolitan commissioner, T Chiranjeevulu, said, â€śWe have launched an enquiry into the matter to get to the bottom of this. We will also check if such malpractices have taken place at other nurseries but so far we have not received any complaints from any other nursery about such instances. The person is a new recruit who has been with us for just seven months, we have since removed him from the post.â€ť
The standard practice followed by HMDA when it comes to crediting labourersâ€™ salary is to issue cheques in the name of the supervisor or contractor who will then deposit the money in the labourerâ€™s bank account.
When another HMDA official was asked why the salaries are not credited directly to the labourersâ€™ bank accounts, he replied saying, â€śMany of these labourers do not have bank accounts and those who do, donâ€™t know how to do banking. So in some municipalities, the supervisor pays the salary. Hence, the bank account details and passbook will be with that official.â€ť
The salaries of these labourers range anywhere between Rs 6,000 to Rs 9,000 per month. Srinivas started depositing the salaries and then started withdrawing them. This started happening shortly after he took charge, the official added. The scam was first reported by Nabinder Bommala of The Times of India.