Railways' shame: Sleeps on while being robbed of Rs 1.36 cr

Railways has no account of Rs 1.36 crore made from stolen cash receipts for advertising on its property

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Danish Raza | August 9, 2010



In what has been termed as ‘mammoth system failure’ by the vigilance department of the Western Railways, the railways has been robbed of more than Rs one crore.

The matter relates to cash receipt (CR) books from which the railways issue receipts to the advertisers allowing them to display advertisements on railway properties.

The Chief Commercial Manager (CCM) squad of Western Railways seized 216 such books which had gone missing from the advertisement department of the Mumbai division over a period of one year.

On the scrutiny of the cash receipts issues from these books, the squad found that there were 17 CR books from which 107 foils were prepared.

There were 69 entries amounting to Rs 1. 36 crore for which neither the corresponding Master Cash Receipts nor the entries in register were traced.

The CCM squad has arrested one person named Rakesh Pande in this case.

“This is a case of mammoth system failure in which no rules, policy guidelines were observed by station and divisional authorities while dealing with advertisement matters,” says the report prepared by the vigilance department of the Western Railways, a copy of which is with Governance Now.

Further, none of the senior officers in the Railways was intimated about the stolen CR books.

This is a violation of the Indian Railways Commercial Manual which says that all the concerned officials including the Divisional Commercial Manager should be informed about the loss of money value books. The division office then notifies the loss through railway gazette to prevent the fraudulent use of the money value book.

The report was obtained by Mumbai based RTI activist Mohammed Afzal. “It is shocking to know that this loss incurred due to the stolen CR books was not indicated in the annual audit of railways. The amount here is too big to be ignored,” says Afzal.

The report says that the rules regarding commercial advertising at stations were also violated by station authorities in this case. “They have failed to maintain proper register of advertisement of station,” notes the report, adding that the CR books were not kept in safe custody.

The particulars of money value books should be entered in the stock book, each book being posted individually in consecutive series. But in this case, notes the report, no stock register was found maintained by Mumbai division office.

“At station level most of the concerned officials deposed during their statements that they were maintaining only advertisement file and not the advertisement register on different plea viz overburden of work, old procedure etc,” says the report.
 

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