Saturday, November 3, 2012

XX OA 139 of ??? My additions

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Points i.e. CSCs/TCs so as to minimize cutting into the validity time of the cards. SDE (IN) shall maintain the log book for printing of VCC cards with clear entries of PSN numbers cancelled for the reasons of bad printing etc.  He shall also open individual file for each CSC / TC for VCC cards, he shall also maintain VCC Cards Stock Register and a Cards Issue Register to keep proper accounting of cards which shall be produced before A.M.(E)/G.M.(E) for perusal and auditing on their visit to IN, he will send a weekly statement on the cards issued to various centres to AO (Receipts) with copies to SDEs, CSCs/ TCs and PC ULS (INTL).   Thus he communicates weekly at horizontal level with his colleagues namely SDEs, incharge of sale (distribution) and the AO (Receipts), incharge of accounting.  At vertical level, he reports monthly to A.M.(E)/G.M.(E). 

5.       We found that at the relevant point of time, one Shri Honne Gowda was the SDE (IN) and it has come out that the concerned officer had failed in all the five aspects reported above for which apparently disciplinary action was taken against him and censure alone was imposed upon him in spite of the fact that although there are figures available as to the number of cards printed, there are no figures available as to the invalid cards or cards returned as unsold.  There was no weekly reporting with copies to SDEs incharge of sale and there was no reconciliation of account with
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Accounts Officer (Receipts) i.e. Mr. Haroon Rasheed, who had also admitted that no reconciliation was ever made. 

          We felt it necessary to inquire from the officers of the department as to how these guidelines were actually put in practice and we noticed the following lapses:-
(i) From the circular, it is seen that the Cards are printed, sold and accounted for in a triangular system. The SDE –CSC (Customer Service Centre) decides how many cards are needed for sale during the fortnight and indent the same to the SDE I-Net which is a supplying office (a different office). When the cards are sold the cash obtained from the customer, is collected on daily basis by yet another officer namely the Accounts Officer (AO) (Receipts).  Their three respective senior officers were supposed to periodically receive reports for monitoring and were also expected to inspect these offices for physical verification.  All these arrangements remained only on papers and nothing came into practice.  As a result, the misappropriation to the tune of Rs.17,09,855/- only has been detected after nearly three years, that too only by the inspection of Audit wing of the department in 2002.  We find that the SDE (IN) was not reading the indent slips issued by the STOA-P.  We have perused as many as 49 indent slips and found that in each slip the concerned STOA-P was showing the figures of indented cards and unsold cards, but in the next consecutive slip the closing balance of previous indent did not appear as
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opening balance instead the number of indented cards itself was entered as opening balance also.  A person of normal diligence would have been able to see one indent slip and realize that the opening balance is not shown properly, but the SDE (IN) had not cared to notice.

(ii)     The indenting officer was allowed to print cards at his will and supply it to various CSCs as per their indent and apparently the department had no system to reconcile and monitor how many cards are being printed by the SDE (IN) on a daily or monthly or yearly basis how many are accounted for as distributed etc.  No senior officer seemed concerned about it.

(iii)    The circular states that a day to day detailed report in the prescribed format for the sale of VCC Cards shall be prepared and submitted while depositing the cash with the AO (Receipts).  This was apparently not done for three years.

(iv)    There was also no system of tallying what the SDE (IN) prints and issues and what is sold out by the entire division and the money received by the AO (Receipts).   And what happens to the unsold cards of various denominations.

(v)     Complete failure of supervisory machinery - When a circular prescribes a monthly report it is as much the duty of the supervisory officer to see that his juniors are sending the said report.  No DE ever enquired from the applicant SDE.  In addition, the DE has to carry out an annual inspection of all the SDEs which apparently has not been done during the three years or later and none of his seniors has ever questioned him for such omission.  Had the DE had asked for monthly report even once, then the SDE would have come to know that her STOA-P was himself engaging in the entire correspondence without her knowledge or approval. 

(vi)   The department did not have the system of a monthly or quarterly meeting of the DE with all his SDEs.  Such a system of monthly meeting is extremely useful for proper coordination, human resource augmentation and preventing all possible omissions and mis- appropriations arising out of inadequate supervision either by SDE or by the DE or by the DGM.   

In this instant case, we found from the records that while the applicant SDE who is also the head of office seems to be kept in complete darkness by the STOA-P Shri Natarajan, who never presented any indent slip or any daily tally sheet for her perusal and signature, even the supplying office and the office of the AO (Receipts) have never questioned the authority of STOA-P to sign the slips.  Further the pilferage or mistake they could have detected by just one look at the indent slips has not been detected by them.  In fact, the AO has apparently never received or demanded the tally slips from any of the SDEs from whom he was collecting the cash.  All nice rules were there on paper.  The D.E. ULS (Intl-I) has to periodically check the cards in stock at IN, scrutinize all registers and also inspect files for all CSC/TC.  He will have to send a monthly statement of VCC cards to Chief Accounts Officer with a copy to AM (East), the S.D.E. In charge of the CSC should maintain a daily sale register and send a weekly statement to A.O (Receipts) and monthly statement to CAO with a definite proforma.  The applicant herein was the SDE of the concerned CSC and, therefore, apparently, if there is any shortage, she has the primary responsibility.  The D.E. (O/D)/C.S. will at least once in a month make physical verification and reconcile the account.  The A.O. (Receipts will receive daily collections and weekly statements and tally them with the reconciled statement issued by SDE (IN) and SDE (CSC)/TC and he will bring into notice of A.M. (E)/C.A.O.(NS), the discrepancies.  He is also obliged to send monthly statement to C.A.O. (NS)/A.M.(E).  The C.A.O.(NS) will be responsible for overall monitoring of collections and assessments.  The AM (East) will inspect the S.D.E.(IN) once in a month.  Therefore, a proper procedure is seen made out and on paper, everything appears to be correct and proper but, after we called for the VCC cards indents and inspected the same, we came to realize the shoddy system that was in operation and to cover up a discrepancy and lacuna of the system, an officer is being made a scapegoat and victimized.  Thereupon, we summoned the concerned officers and enquired of the situation prevailing but, since we have not given an opportunity to any of the parties to participate in the inquisition,the proceedings of the inquisition shall only be used as a clarificatory strategy.

6.       It would appear that on 18.8.1999 the earlier incumbent made over the charge of SDE to the applicant.  We have already seen that VCC cards have come into operation from 12.7.1999 and on 26.7.1999 the procedure for issuance of cards were finalized vide No.AME/CSC/99-2000 dated 26.7.1999.  But, we have seen from the indent produced dated 23.7.1999 that Shri Vaikunta Raju, the predecessor of the applicant, who was then holding the responsibility of City Exchange CSC,  Lalbagh Road, Bangalore and seems to have issued indent Card No.2 on that date.  Apparently, he had authorized V. Natarajan, the applicant in O.A. No.40 of 2009 to see the actual counter clerk dealing with the cards in office of SDE (IN) and collect them by signing.  But, thereafter, continuously the said V. Natarajan had signed as SDE In Charge of CSC, he seems to have made a seal of ‘Officer In Charge, CSC City’ and signed it himself.  We had asked the DGM as to who proposed the seals and he replied that the senior officer will have to approve it and then the concerned officer will make it available.  In this case, Natarajan himself seems to have made a seal as the Officer In Charge (nobody knows who appointed him as Officer in Charge) and the SDE (IN) seems to have accepted all his subsequent requisition indents without any question even though it is contrary to laid down procedure.  The SDE (IN) at that time, was Shri Honne Gowda, who was also printing the cards with no details available as to how many cards he had printed and how many are distributed to each SDE (CSC) for sale.  It is also surprising to note that the closing balance of one indent does not tally with the opening balance of subsequent indent and every figure is given wrongly.  It is noted in this connection that each CSC has to have its own file and register and, therefore, comparison at least with the previous indent is definitely possible at a glance, but, Shri Honne Gowda had sanctioned the indents without any demur.

7.       It would appear that on 11.4.2000, the charge of the office was handed over to Shri G. Madhavamurthy and even under Shri G. Madhavamurthy, Shri Natarajan continued as Officer In Charge.  The respondents have a case that even though the applicant was transferred out from the post, she was orally by her superior i.e. the D.E., asked to continue looking after the CSC also.  No document is available for such additional responsibility being handed over to the applicant.  The applicant denying this additional responsibility to her, it can be presumed that it is created only as a link between the genesis of the events and its culmination.  We had examined all the indents but could not find the applicant’s signatures in any.  Even some of the indents do not carry the seal, it was all handwritten by Shri Natarajan who posed as the Officer In Charge and Shri Honne Gowda accepted it. To compound it also, Shri Haroon Rasheed, the A.O. (Receipts) who was also in the meeting for formulation of matrix to be followed, would submit in the inquisition that there was no daily statement, no weekly statement and no monthly statement either to him from SDE (CSC) or from him to the CAO (NS) and AM (E) and for more than 3 years no one bothered to look into the situation of the CSC.  No physical verification was done by the concerned officers senior namely the DE and the DGM, even though they were enjoined to do so.  From the factual responses made available to us from the concerned officers and the answers given by both applicants i.e. in O.A. No.40 of 2009 and the present case, we had reason to suspect that one organized group may be working and the superior officers were unable to check and controvert them.  Therefore, we can only conclude that unfortunate events have taken place in B.S.N.L.

8.       This is more pertinent in the light of three other SDE (CSC) who were reporting in accordance with the laid down procedure.  Therefore, there is a clear-cut failure on the part of the superior officers, the DE and DGM when viewed in the light of one CSC (Customer Service Centre) being negligent in the nth degree and not offer any reconciliation, for three years together when others in the same city had scrupulously followed the correct procedure.  Seniors failed to notice that no weekly or monthly statement was coming forth from one of the CSCs where they were supervisory officers.  They never enquired why.  If the senior officers had acted within their powers and in compliance with their jurisdiction, such a theft would not have occurred and Shri Natarajan would not have the opportunity to style himself as Officer In Charge and issue indents and Shri Honne Gowda would not have a chance to honour such obviously frivolous indents.  In this context, a question may be rightly asked on the actual number of cards issued and printed.  Going by the same methodology and the psychology of the persons involved to the facts of the case, it is easy for them to print ten times more number of cards indented for and sell every one of them but show only the indented cards as actual sale.  This strong possibility cannot be easily discounted, but this only a possibility.  But, the fact remains that with such frivolous indents and forged sale, a person was able to style himself as Officer In Charge and there is now a shortage of more than Rs.17 lakhs.  He has claimed that these shortages were the result of invalidation of cards.  If the 

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