Salary scam: Railway Board directs departments to transfer, suspend staffers

New Delhi: In the wake of a salary disbursement scam, the Railway Board has asked the zonal railways’ vigilance departments to immediately suspend or transfer those found involved in irregularities.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani

“Immediate action” would send out a message that the administration “will come down hard” on corruption, the Board said in a letter issued yesterday

A major fraud in disbursement of salaries and bills related to ‘ghost’ railway employees was unearthed in the Railways’ Delhi Division of the Northern Zone in March.

The salary bills were generated for ghost employees, who were also disbursed false travelling allowance (TA), overtime allowance (OTA), night duty allowance (NDA) and arrears were for several years.

According to a preliminary report, it has cost the exchequer Rs 1.5 crore during 2016-17.

“A zonal railway has recently detected two cases wherein salary payments have been made to non-existent staff…Administrative action such as suspension or transfer to prevent further damage and tampering of evidence should be taken immediately.

“Issuing of charge sheet for fraud discovered by the department itself should be initiated by the department concerned where clear cut irregularities have been identified, instead of waiting for a further investigation by vigilance,” the letter said.

It has also said that in instances when such corruption cases have been handed over to the vigilance department for further probe, investigations should be completed within 15 days.

In an earlier letter to the zonal GMs and HoDs soon after the Delhi Division scam was revealed, the Railway Board had instructed all zones and production units to conduct a scrutiny of pay roll records to obviate the possibility of similar frauds, officials said.

In February this year, the railway ministry had undertaken a massive drive to wean out long term absentee employees in its various establishments. As a result of the drive, it detected more than 13,000 such employees who are on unauthorised absence for a long time.