NAMAKKAL: Kumaripalayam panchayat secretary Kandhasamy was suspended from service on Monday for swindling Rs 5.89 lakh by issuing fake bills for illegal tap water connections. Sources said that the incident came to light after a social activist raised an issue alleging misappropriation of funds.
Confirming this, the Collector K Megraj told TNIE that after Kandhasamy was transferred to Kalipalayam Panchayat, officials from the revenue department found that he was misappropriating funds. Later, he was suspended on Monday and Block Development Officer was instructed to lodge a complaint against him.
The issue was brought to light by a social activist Dhanalakshmi Ramasamy who got the details from the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Speaking to TNIE, she said, "There are 469 individual tap connections and 247 common connections in the panchayat. Since the residents are facing acute water shortage, I suspected Kandhasamy's activities and traced his illegal activities."
Sources from the revenue department said, "We received many complaints from the residents so two Deputy Tashildhars were deployed. The officials inspected all the accounts in the panchayat office last week. They found fake bill books and accounts that showed the details of illegal tap connections."
"Finally, the officials found that Rs 5.89 lakh was allegedly swindled by the Secretary Kandhasamy. Mohanur BDO Gunalan issued a show-cause notice to him to repay the amount," sources added.
Explaining how the secretary swindled the money, sources said, "When the State faced acute shortage of water and severe drought, the government had ordered all district collectors to disconnect illegal tap connections in rural and urban areas. However, Kandhasamy did not disconnect illegal water supply. He collected the bills through his fake bill books and got them printed."
Sources added that revenue officials have seized bill books and are verifying all accounts. Once the verification is complete, a clear figure would be revealed.