VIJAYAWADA: With the ACB reportedly unearthing serious financial irregularities in various departments of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam, the Endowments Department on Tuesday cracked the whip by suspending 15 employees, including five superintendent rank officials, holding them responsible for the anomalies.
The suspension came following the ACB raids on the offices of Durga temple for three consecutive days from February 18. The raids were conducted based on a petition filed by some temple staff. The ACB conducted detailed investigation into various wings such as darshan ticket counters, saree auction counter and godowns, annadanam stores, prasadam counters, main provision stores, engineering and administration offices.
Apart from the financial irregularities, the ACB found that the temple Executive Officer MV Suresh Babu had ‘violated’ instructions of the Endowments Commissioner in awarding tender to a security agency to guard the temple premises, sources said. Endowments Special Commissioner P Arjuna Rao issued an order on Tuesday suspending 15 temple staff for ‘committing anomalies and causing loss to temple exchequer.’
Three staffers of darshan ticket counter were found to be involved in financial irregularities. The ACB found that P Ravi Kumar, record assistant in ticket counter, K Ramesh, record assistant in Arjitha Seva counter, and P Rambabu, record assistant in sales counter, had sold recycled darshan tickets. It was also found that the superintendent of the section did not sign on the DCR receipt register which helped the trio take advantage to commit the fraud. “The three staffers and the superintendent of that section were kept under suspension with immediate effect,” the order stated.
The other suspended staff included superintendents Amrutha Rao, Bhagya Jyothi, Chandu Srinivas, Hari Krishna and Srinivasa Murthy, and assistants Madhu, P Nageswara Rao, Rambabu and Kondalu.Employees and superintendent in sarees godown and counters had also committed financial irregularities like selling costly sarees offered by devotees in the open market. All the errant staff were suspended with immediate effect.
In Annadanam stores, unauthorised persons and outsourcing employees were working. The officials concerned failed to maintain proper records for procurement of vegetables and milk. In the tenders for cleaning and serving food to devotees in Annadanam section, it was found that the contract agency was resorting to malpractices.
One temple employee engaged his nearest relative unauthorisedly in prasadam counter and the employee was suspended. The ACB also noticed that the temple authorities were procuring cow ghee from a non-cooperative dairy unit without inviting tenders and the same was objected in the financial audit. In awarding tenders for the housekeeping and mechanised sanitation and sweeping and supply of security guards and supervisors, the temple authorities violated the procedures while selecting contractors.
The temple staff did not deposit Rs 54,31,382 received from devotees under Annadanam scheme in the bank as per rules and misused the amount, said a senior ACB official. EO Suresh Babu had violated the instructions of the Endowments Commissioner and issued contract to Max-Detective and Guarding Services Pvt Ltd and because of the utter negligence of the security agency, the theft of three silver lion idols from the temple chariot took place. The tender was not approved by the commissioner and the agency was being paid huge amounts which was against the rules, sources in ACB said.It was also noticed that certain key registers were not properly maintained and a number of audit objections was raised.
The ACB raids were conducted for three days from Feb 18 based on a petition filed by some staff