VISAKHAPATNAM: Finally, after thorough investigation and search spanning 20 days, the city police nabbed Y Venkata Narasinga Rao (35) alias Narasinga Rao, the main accused of the Rs 1.4 crore pensioners’-arrears-payment scam at Seethammadhara Sub Treasury Office (STO) on Friday.
Deputy commissioner of police (Law & Order) Zone 1- Visakha, M Ravindranath Babu, while speaking to the press on Friday revealed that they arrested two persons - Y Venkata Narasinga Rao, a junior accountant of the Seethammadhara Divisional Sub Treasury Office and kingpin of the scam and Garikina Santhosh Kumar (34), a close friend of the prime accused - for their involvement in the `1.4 crore siphoning-off government money and also recovered `76.15 lakh from the duo.
The cops have launched a man-hunt to nab three more persons related to this case and investigation is on to establish the alleged nexus between the junior accountant and the other staff members of the Sub Treasury Office. In this connection, DCP Ravindranath Babu said that Narasinga Rao had joined the Seethammadhara STO as a junior accountant, on compassionate grounds, in March 2016, after sudden demise of his father Y Lova Raju (ASI). His mother Y Varalakshmi has been taking pension every month for the last two years from the Seethammadhara Sub Treasury Office.
Bitten by the craze for easy money, Narasinga Rao had stolen user Ids and passwords of his colleagues at the STO and fraudulently deposited `50.66 lakh in his mother Varalakshmi’s bank account in two phases - `16 lakh in May and `34.65 lakh in August, 2018 - along with regular pension, citing pension arrears as the reason of the deposit of excess money.
However, during the random verification of pension payment orders (PPOs), internal checking officials unearthed these irregularities in pension arrears payments and found that one of the pensioners, Varalakshmi’s bank account was credited with `50.66 lakh abnormally. After confirmation of the fraud, the assistant treasury officer KS Venkateswara Rao lodged a complaint with the Dwaraka police station in Vizag city on October 20, 2018.
Then the police began their investigation and YV Narasinga Rao went into a hiding.For record, on November 8, the Dwaraka PS received another complaint from the same Seethammadhara Sub Treasury Office in which the assistant treasury officer, in-charge, VL Subhashini, stated that they had found fraudulent money transactions in two pensioners accounts.
One account belonged to Garikina Masen Rao and his bank account was credited with `54 lakh and another belonged to K Ramulamma. Ramulamma’s bank account was credited with `36.19 lakh. Based on these complaints, the Dwaraka Police went to an investigation and search overdrive and finally, on the basis of concrete clues, they nabbed Venkata Narasinga Rao, the mastermind of the scam on Friday.
The investigation has also revealed that Venkata Narasinga Rao fraudulently credited his friend Garikina Santhosh Kumar’s father Masen Rao’s account with `54 lakh and later the two friends shared the money.
“We have recovered Rs 64.54 lakh in cash and Rs 11.61 lakh from the bank account, besides one Mahindra KUV car and a bike from Narasinga Rao and Santhosh Kumar,” the deputy commissioner of police said.
“As the pensioners, who received the excess money, didn’t inform the treasury officials, we have registered cases against them also and investigation is on to recover the remaining siphoned off money and arrest the others in connection with the case,” the DCP said.