While the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has often been mired in controversy on pension for freedom fighters, an audit report has now found major violations in granting “undue benefits” to some of its own employees before retirement. “Manipulations” were done to get them higher pension benefits on additional pay grade after retirement, according to the report, conducted by MHA’s internal oversight cell, which found rules were flouted in three cases in recent times.
The audit also questioned how ineligible employees were handpicked for posts that were never advertised. It said norms were twisted to facilitate deputation in non-vacant posts.
According to the report, undue benefits were given to Jasbir Singh and AK Dixit, both of whom worked as accounts officer in MHA, and SK Tyagi, who was a senior accounts officer in the office of deputy controller of accounts.
While Singh was given additional charge as assistant director-finance and accounts [or AD (F&A)] days before he was to retire, both Dixit and Tyagi were made assistant director-accounts [or AD (A/C)] in different departments
In Jasbir Singh’s case, the internal audit report notes, “Additional charge has been deliberately shown to have been issued on November 15, 2011 by manipulating the records.” Calling it a “cause of concern”, the report points out that the official order was released only the next day —November 16.
An accounts officer in the internal audit wing of MHA, Singh was given additional charge as AD (F&A) to look after accounts of the National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science (NICFS), an institute set up by the MHA at Delhi’s Rohini area in 1972.
Before getting this additional charge, Singh drew a salary in pay band–II (Rs 9,300-34,800) with grade pay of Rs 5400. After getting the additional charge, he moved to a higher grade pay of Rs 6,600.
Having served in his additional charges for 45 days before his retirement, Singh was granted pension accordingly in the higher grade pay. “Pension once fixed can't be changed to disadvantage of pensioner, as per the government of India's decision rule (8) of CCS (pension) rules,” the audit notes.
According to the report, even this post in NICFS did not exist — it was created to slot in Singh. “Additional charge is neither substantive nor officiating, In this case, there is no appointing authority for the post of AD (F&A), NICFS, as the post doesn’t exist. It is clear that undue benefit has been given to Jasbir Singh,” the report states.
While the MHA’s internal oversight cell, which conducted the audit, exonerated the NICFS director for this irregularity, it blamed the Department Accounting Organisation (DAO), the ministry’s accounting organization, for the whole fiasco behind creating the additional charge for Jasbir Singh. It notes: “Additional charge shouldn’t ideally result in additional pension, hence, if pay/pension of higher post would not have been provided there wouldn't have been any deviation from extant rules and undue benefit to the pensioner could have been avoided.”
In Singh’s case, the central pension accounting office (CPAO) of the finance ministry advised on the pension without quoting any rule. But the CPAO is “not the appropriate authority” to explain issues regarding pension, the report notes. It says: “The appropriate authority for clarification of matter relating to pension is the department of pensions and pensioner’s welfare. Thus, asking the comments of CPAO doesn’t seem to be appropriate.”
In Dixit’s case — he was an accounts officer before being made assistant director-accounts (or AD-A/C) in CRPF, which is under home ministry’s jurisdiction — the audit report said the post was again not advertised for. Dixit’s name, the report says, was forwarded by the DAO, and such departmental moves are against norms of deputation.
According to the audit report, the deputation order was cleared on March 4, 2011 by the Indian civil accounts services, which, again, is not the appropriate authority. According to the findings, “When (the) deputation case of Dixit was processed, the post of AD (A/C) in CRPF was not encadered and accordingly (the) case of deputation was to (be) processed by cadre controlling authority of the post, that was CRPF in this case (at that time).”
Later, the post of AD (A/C) in CRPF was encadred with Indian civil accounts services. Dixit is set to retire in 2015.
The report says SK Tyagi’s appointment as AD (A/C) was also initiated against a non-vacant post. “The post belongs to Indian civil accounts service (CGA) and accordingly the case of deputation was to be processed by CGA. However, the case has been initiated by DAO,” the report states.
The audit found Tyagi joined DAO prior to his selection on deputation against a non-vacant post.