Many officials fabricated the existence of 6,600 sanitary workers and pockets salaries allotted to them

While Bengalureans continue to suffer the onslaught of demonetization, the city is caught in yet another storm of a high-profile scam.

Shockingly, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the city’s civic body which has allegedly misappropriated Rs 934 crore.

It does not end there.

The civic body has allegedly fabricated the existence of 6,600 pourakarmikas (sanitary workers) by creating ghost accounts, to whom BBMP has been paying salaries for the last 10 years and have pocketed the money.

These funds include the shareable amount set aside for Insurance and Provident Fund of its existing employees, that was not credited by them.

The scam surfaced after the Karnataka State Commission for Safai Karmacharis (KSCSK) submitted a report earlier this month, after which the home department conducted an inquiry into the matter.

This brought to light that 87 officials and contractors associated with the city’s waste management are being investigated.

Home Minister G Parameshwara addressed a letter to the top police official on 11 November, stating that the case is being taken very seriously. He added that the Criminal investigation Department (CID) would probe the case as “an independent agency”.

“The workers have been cheated of almost Rs.384 crore by the contractors. This has been going on since 2005, whereby the fund was used to pay salaries of the pourakarmikas but without the employer’s contribution toward Provident Fund and insurance. There has been no ESI coverage for them. They should have been credited to the employee’s contribution to insurance(ESI) of 1.75%, along with the employer’s part of 4.75%, in their insurance accounts. But nothing of that sort has been done. This has resulted the workers to lose coverage worth Rs 15 crore,” Narayan’s letter says.

BBMP’s books show that salaries are being paid to over 19,000 sanitary workers. However, after the inquiry, it was revealed that only 12,400 sanitary workers have been appointed and that 6,600 workers, and documents have been fabricated and added to the system, to whom the payments are being made, the letter says.

As per reports from the home ministry, a CID inquiry has been sought.