ONGOLE: A probe was launched against a village volunteer after villagers accused him of taking unauthorised leaves and instructing his brother to render services on his behalf using an artificial thumb to trick the biometric system. However, following the investigation, the government officials concluded that the volunteer was not at fault.
On August 1, a few pension beneficiaries lodged a complaint with the village secretariat secretary, alleging that Raachagorla Guru Prasad (21), a ward volunteer working at Kandulavari Palli village in Padamati Kattakinda Palli Panchayat, did not live in the village as he was running his business in Bengaluru.
They informed the secretary that Guru Prasad had created a fake thumb with his fingerprint and handed it over to his brother Guruswamy to log in to the government portal and disburse the pensions to the beneficiaries.
When only two beneficiaries received their pensions on Tuesday, other eligible people took the issue to the notice of Panchayat Secretariat Secretary Shaik Johnny, who went to Guru Prasad’s house and inspected the process for disbursing pensions.
On finding that the accused was not at home, he asked Guru Swamy about his whereabouts, who told the secretary that he had gone out of the village. Soon after, Johnny alerted Pamuru Mandal Parishad Development Officer (MPDO) V Srinivasulu over the phone and on his directions, he seized Rs 55,000 cash which was kept for disbursement as pension amounts of the 21 beneficiaries.
“We went to Kandulavari Palli village and conducted an inquiry about the complaint. We didn’t find any fake thumb and Guru Prasad was also present in the village. When we questioned him, he said he went to Ongole for some personal work on the day the secretary visited his house. It is clear that a group of people holding a grudge against the volunteer lodged a false complaint. Later, we ensure that the pension was distributed to all beneficiaries,” the MPDO maintained.