Chandigarh, October 20
Three officials of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) have been indicted in a case of fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 35 lakh bank guarantee by a private security agency.
An inquiry conducted by a retired Additional District and Sessions Judge revealed that manager (commercial) Anil Sharma and clerks Balwinder Kaur and Rikhi Ram connived with officials of the security agency, Oscar Security and Fire Services, to help it withdraw Rs 35 lakh deposited as bank guarantee, while CITCO was left with a coloured photocopy of the document.
In 2018, CITCO awarded a contract to the firm for providing manpower. The firm caused a loss to CITCO by claiming Rs 67 lakh provident fund for more than 200 employees even as it received the same amount from the Centre as well under the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana. Multiple directives were issued to forfeit the firm’s bank guarantee of Rs 35 lakh, but no action was taken. Consequently, CITCO suffered a loss of Rs 1 crore.
In January 2022, then additional managing director of CITCO Nitika Pawar found that the firm had fraudulently obtained the double benefit of Rs 67 lakh as EPF. She instructed the officials to forfeit the firm’s bank guarantee of Rs 35 lakh, but the officials concerned failed to act. Again in November 2022, then MD Jaswinder Kaur instructed officials to forfeit the firm’s bank guarantee, but they delayed the action for almost 18 months, resulting in a loss of Rs 1 crore to CITCO.
The scam was exposed in January 2023, when CITCO officers tried to encash the bank guarantee, but found that it had already been encashed by the firm in June 2022.