BHUBANESWAR: Days after Union Minister for Communications, IT, and Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw ordered to complete the probe into embezzlement within a month, the Department of Posts (DoP) has detected misappropriation of Rs 2.44 crore of depositors' money in three branch post offices in Odisha.
Secretary of DoP Vineet Pandey said the fraud has been detected at Lachipeta, Malkangiri Colony, and Bhejangiwada post offices under the Koraput division.
"The branch postmaster of Bhejangiwada post office siphoned off Rs 35 lakh instead of depositing the amount in the accounts of depositors while the postmaster in charge of Lachipeta and Malkangiri Colony post offices withdrew Rs 2.09 crore of deposited money through fraudulent ways. This case has been handed over to CBI," he told reporters on Friday.
Panday said the postmasters concerned were under suspension and the branch postmaster of Bhejangiwada post office Mana Pujari was booked under various sections of IPC and arrested.
"The CBI probing the Lachipeta and Malkangiri Colony case has been asked to complete the investigation as quickly as possible. Directions have been issued for attachment of properties of the main accused and their family members," he informed.
Acting promptly on the directions of the Minister, the departmental investigation has been completed in the Lachipeta post office, and the Department has conducted preliminary investigations in the other two cases. It will be completed by September 20, Pandey said.
Chief Postmaster General of Odisha Suvendu Swain said all genuine claims will be settled within 30 days in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Department of Posts.
"So far, we have received complaints from five depositors. We have appealed depositors of the three branch offices to come forward and lodge complaints so that their claims can be expedited," he added.
The Union Minister had sought the report from the postal department after a group of depositors whose money was misappropriated made a representation to him during his visit to Koraput on August 21 as part of four-day Jan Ashirwad Yatra.
Unsatisfied with the response of in-charge senior postal superintendent Tarini Charan Padhi over the progress in the internal inquiry, Vaishnaw had directed him to submit the report within a month and warned stern action against the postal staff involved in the misappropriation.