Is there a scam afoot in the Karnataka CM Relief Fund? In as many as 24 cases, it has been found that insiders used fake bills to claim money from the Fund, which is meant for ailing patients who cannot afford treatment.
After an investigation by SJ Somashekar, Deputy Secretary to the Chief Minister (Relief Fund), bills worth 70 lakh were withheld as the documents were found to be bogus, reported The New Indian Express.
According to TNIE report, sources alleged that a Group-D staffer and two daily wagers from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund section forged documents to pocket fund money.
Sources told TNIE that Ningegowda of Pandavapura, a Group-D employee, had not showed up ever since the scam surfaced. However, the investigating officials have caught him.
According to the newspaper report, the modus operandi of Ningegowda, who was about to retire in 3 months, was befriending passengers during travel and collecting their identity proofs like ration cards/ aadhar cards and income certificates promising them money.
TNIE reported that a computer operator in a well-known private hospital named Deshalinga used to provide fake bills and medical records like prescriptions and discharge summaries.
The accused would use these patients’ details and create fake identities by changing details like names, dates of admission and discharge and produce it along with claim applications.
According to TNIE report, they were caught when they forgot to change an in-patient name. This led to the scam being exposed.
The bogus bills were produced on the pretext of availing treatment. Incidentally, another daily wager had claimed bills in her brother’s name, which was same as that of the original claimant.
The newspaper reported that 40-year-old S Gopinath, a vendor from Parvathipuram in Bengaluru who underwent treatment at Trinity Hospital and Heart Foundation between June 13 and 14, 2015, had claimed `1.97 lakh through Chamarajpet MLA R V Devaraj. After scrutiny, `97,500 was sanctioned to him.
A daily wager, Nagaraj, who was an accomplice in the scam was terminated from service. Two more accused, Ilyas and Raju Gowda, were caught for allegedly helping Ningegowda, said the report.
During investigation, it was found that the daily wager used the genuine claimant’s records to claim financial assistance for her brother, who was also named S Gopinath, said the report.
TNIE reported that S J Somashekar, Deputy Secretary to the Chief Minister (Relief Fund), who scrutinised the documents, became suspicious. He later verified the records with the hospital authorities and confirmed that the bills they had were fake.
After going through 26,000 applications, he unearthed the scam and introduced several measures to check the misuse of funds and to punish the accused.
This is an aggregated report from The New Indian Express.