Staff scam: Delhi Mayor wants CBI probe, rules out new hiring (Second lead)

New Delhi, Nov 26 ( Delhi Mayor Kanwar Sain and other elected members of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Thursday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the scandal of 22,853 “non-existent” employees drawing salaries every month. The mayor, however, turned down irate residents’ demand for fresh recruitment to these posts, mainly concerned with sanitation duties.

“A CBI enquiry is crucial in this matter because an investigation needs to be done so as to see who approved these fake employees, who is drawing their salary every month and the likes,” said Kanwar Sain, who Wednesday wrote to the Lt.-Governor on the issue.

Other leaders like Leader of Opposition J.K. Sharma also supported the mayor’s call for a CBI inquiry and met Chief Minister Shila Dikshit to demand a probe.

The MCD has 127,094 employees on record, but only 104,241 are registered on the biometric attendance system that came into place in August. The system blew the lid off the scam Wednesday, revealing there were 22,853 bogus employees, who together were paid Rs.17 crore in salaries every month.

The MCD’s Leader of House Subhash Arya doesn’t want the guilty officials to be let off the hook easily.

“Criminal cases should be initiated against all the guilty officials. If there is a need, their houses should be forfeited to recover the money,” Arya told reporters.

However, both Sharma and Arya held that there was “no political involvement” and that the scam is a result of “administrative lapses”. The municipal commissioner, who heads the civic administration, was unavailable to comment.

As a large chunk of the “non-existent” employees drawing salaries are cleaners and sweepers, Delhiites want new employees to be appointed so that the city’s upkeep does not suffer. However, the mayor ruled this out.

“The MCD is functioning as it is without these 22,853 employees. So they are just extra. We have ample people. We are not planning to recruit more staff but we need to ensure that non-performing staff do not get salaries,” Kanwar Sain told Inditop.

Niketa Dutta, a south Delhi resident, said: “If these employees do not exist, then it is the duty of the MCD to employ new and real people in the cleaning and sanitation department. If you are paying non-existent employees, you might as well employ fresh employees.”

Some are grateful that the biometric system has revealed the scam.

“It was a very good step to introduce the biometric system of attendance in the MCD. At least, the fact that there are bogus MCD employees has come out. Better late than never. I hope something concrete is done now,” said Niloy Gogoi, a 22-year-old management student living in Dwarka.

In the biometric attendance system, a staffer has to scan a finger or a card to register his/her presence. The system was introduced in the MCD headquarters in Town Hall Aug 1, 2008. Subsequently, machines were also put up at 12 zonal offices.

Shivraaj Chauhan, a businessman living in Greater Kailash, feels that scam or not, the MCD needs to perform its duty.

“I just want my locality to be clean and free from germs considering that diseases like dengue are creating havoc in the city,” he said.

Residents like Manju Goyal are worried about how the MCD will cope with the work to be completed ahead of the October 2010 Commonwealth Games. “The Commonwealth Games are round the corner, the MCD is projecting a very bad image of itself,” he said.