The CBI carried out searches at 28 locations across four states after registering a case against four Navy officers for allegedly siphoning off Rs 6.76 crore by generating fake bills for purported supply of IT hardware to the Western Naval Command, officials said on Thursday.
The searches in Delhi, Mumbai, Gujarat and Karnataka continued till Wednesday midnight and resulted in the recovery of Rs 10 lakh cash, they said. Captain Atul Kulkarni, Commanders Mandar Godbole and R P Sharma, and Petty Officer LOG (F&A) Kuldeep Singh Baghel allegedly prepared seven fraudulent bills of Rs 6.76 crore, they said.
"All these accused naval officers abused their official position to defraud the naval authorities and rob the exchequer of public money which led to pecuniary gain to themselves," according to the CBI FIR. The bills were allegedly raised between January and March in 2016 at the Western Naval Command in Mumbai for supplying information technology and networking related hardware.
"None of the items mentioned in the bills were supplied to HQ, WNC (Western Naval Command). No documents pertaining to preparation of the bills i.e. approvals, financial sanction, purchase orders, receipt vouchers, etc. are available at HQ," the CBI FIR said. The Navy had introduced a Financial Information System (FIS) in 2012 for budget monitoring and ensuring authenticity of the bills submitted.
All bills bear a unique FIS number. The bills of any work executed by the naval authorities are first entered on the FIS, thus generating a FIS number.
FIS user id is the personal number allotted to an officer and cannot be accessed by any other staff. The fraudulent bills were prepared by FIS user IDs of Godbole and Sharma, showing their active connivance in the offence, the FIR alleged.
The agency has alleged that Kulkarni was the supervising officer of the unit where the bills were generated, they said. It alleged that Kulkarni actively connived with Godbole and Sharma in the generation of the fake bills.
The agency has also booked four officials of the Controller of Defence Accounts, besides private companies Star Network, ACME Networks, Cyberspace Infovision and Moksh Infosys.