Scam in Madhubabu Pension disbursement under BMC; 793 ghost beneficiaries receive over Rs 5 lakh

Bhubaneswar: At least 793 ghost beneficiaries under Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) limits reportedly received more than Rs 5 lakh in a year from the civic body under Madhubabu Pension scheme.

After the fraudulent practice came to the fore recently, it was verified by a team of the BMC officials by visiting every doorstep to ascertain if the beneficiaries to whom the pension money was disbursed were fake or genuine ones.

Interestingly, it was found during verification drive that some of the beneficiaries have died and some others have already relocated to elsewhere, but next of kin have received the pensions.

The alleged scam continued for last several years and BMC authorities were not aware of it.

According to sources, the civic body was heaped with a number of allegations in this regard, following which a team was formed for verification of the charges. State government had announced for online disbursement of the pension to do away with cash payment.

It was not possible on part of a BMC official, who was already in charge of multiple tasks, to verify and update bank accounts of the beneficiaries. Hence, the task was subsequently assigned to a District Social Security Officer (DSSO), the source expressed.

Some local intelligentsia wondered as to how such an illegal activity persisted for so long without the knowledge of the officials. “Have the BMC officials been accepting percentage (PC) and disbursing the pension money?” they questioned.

Corporators are local representatives and at least they should have information when a beneficiary dies. It is likely that the people’s representatives are also involved in the scam, they added.

Notably, there are beneficiaries who were receiving pensions of different amounts like Rs 500, Rs 700 and Rs 900 per month. A huge number of 793 beneficiaries is said to be a record figure.

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