Home Guard Who Blew Lid off Salary Scam Arrested for Allegedly Setting Fire to Attendance Logs
Noida (UP): A Home Guard platoon commander was arrested here on Wednesday for allegedly setting fire to attendance logs of the force's personnel in Gautam Buddh Nagar amid a probe into irregularities in the withdrawal of their salary, police said.
Platoon Commander Rajeev Kumar was identified from CCTV camera footage and he was put under police surveillance, a senior official said. During interrogation, he confessed to commuting the crime, Superintendent of Police (SP), Gautam Buddh Nagar, Vaibhav Krishna, said.
"Rajeev Kumar is also the Home Guard official who had first approached the Noida Police to blow the lid off the massive irregularities in the withdrawal of salaries of home guards personnel in the district," he said.
"During the probe, the police came across a CCTV footage in which a man was seen draped in a shawl with an iron rod in his hand. He was seen approaching the Home Guard's district commandant's office where the muster rolls were kept," Krishna said.
During questioning, Kumar narrated the sequence of events and these matched to what was seen in the footage. He told police that he had taken petrol from a motorcycle parked nearby to burn the muster rolls, the SP said.
On November 13, an FIR was lodged against some Home Guard officials over the fraudulent withdrawal of salaries of the force's personnel. The first information report (FIR) was lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (fraud), and 467, 468 and 471 (all three related to forgery of documents).
Amid a probe into the salary fraud case, muster rolls (attendance logs) of all Home Guard personnel were found burnt in a box inside the Gautam Buddh Nagar district Home Guard commandant's office in Greater Noida on November 19.
Attendance logs of all the personnel since 2014 in the district were found destroyed in the fire amid an ongoing investigation into the salary fraud, prompting Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to intervene.
A Special Investigation Team, led by Superintendent of Police, Noida, Vineet Jaiswal, was formed to investigate the matter, Krishna said. Five Home Guard officials, including a divisional commandant posted in Aligarh, were arrested on November 20 for their alleged role in the fraudulent withdrawal of salaries of scores of force personnel, he said.
Earlier in July, it came to light that salaries of scores of home guards deployed here were withdrawn despite them showing up for work only half of the time during May and June, prompting officials to launch a probe into the matter.
A sample analysis of fraud in seven police stations of Noida showed that in May and June this year, 114 home guards were given Rs 7.07 lakh in salary for 1327 work days, and about 50 per cent of it was based on forged muster rolls, the police said.
It estimated that total fraud could be around Rs 3.50 crore to Rs 4 crore and said detailed analysis of attendance logs which are available with the police was underway.
Part of the auxiliary force, the home guards are not permanent employees and are recruited on a casual basis. They do not have any fixed monthly salary and are paid based on the number of days of duty.