A central audit team has detected fraud worth Rs 57 lakhs by more than 100 officials of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in claiming leave travel allowance and reimbursements of phone bills in the financial year 2017-2018.
The probe into the fraud was commenced by the Jawaharlal Nehru University after the office of Director General of Audit (Central Expenditure) sought an explanation from the university over the charges of fraud against their employees by either producing fake bill or availing unsanctioned reimbursements.
Central expenditure audit team detects fraud worth over Rs 57 lakh by more than 100 JNU officials in claiming leave travel concessions and reimbursement of phone bills during fiscal 2017-18— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 5, 2020
According to a senior JNU official who wished to remain anonymous fearing reprisal said, “The matter was put in the Executive Council meeting of the varsity. The EC is apprised of the matter and is looking into it. As per the EC decision, the defaulters will be asked to pay up.”
However, the JNU official remained mute on the DGCAE’s recommendation to file criminal cases against those involved in the fraud. The fraud was first detected in February in DGCAE’s response to a petition filed by a Kota-based transparency activist, Sujeet Swami, seeking full details of audit and inspection reports of New Delhi’s JNU and Jamia Milia Islamia University for fiscal years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.
According to the plea under the Right to Information Act, petitioner Swami was provided with the audit reports by DGCAE for the two central universities for the year 2017-18 but it claimed that the audits for 2018-19 and 2019-20 were yet to be conducted.
In its report, the DGCAE discovered that 34 officials took advantage of their LTCs by furnishing fake bills worth Rs 52.52 lakh for air travels to Andaman and Nicobar Island and Gangtok by Air India, obtained from a private travel agency. The DGCAE highlighted that even the act of booking tickets through a private agency was in contravention of officials’ service and conduct rules.
Furthermore, the report said that 70 JNU employees claimed reimbursements worth Rs 5.05 lakh on mobile phones purchased by them and paying mobile telephonic service bills despite being ineligible for them. The DGCAE has asked the varsity to recover the unsanctioned reimbursement from their 70 officials and suspend their 34 employees, along with filing a criminal case against them for availing LTCs by producing fake bills.