31 women fake husbands’ death to avail pension

BAREILLY: The district authorities have uncovered an alleged pension scam in Faridpur tehsil, where 31 women reportedly faked the death of their husbands in order to avail monetary assistance and monthly pension under the state family benefit scheme.

Under the scheme, the breadwinner’s death makes the family eligible for monetary assistance of Rs 20,000 and a monthly pension of Rs 300. These women, therefore, submitted fake death certificates to the tehsil authorities.

The scam surfaced recently, when district authorities found anomalies in documents submitted by beneficiaries during a routine verification process. They found that there was no record of the reported deaths in the nagar palika parishad office.

Alarmed at this, the officials immediately ordered registration of FIRs against the applicants and suspension of the concerned lekhpal who had forwarded their applications.

Talking to TOI, a senior district administration official said, “We became suspicious after an unusually high number of deaths were reported from Faridpur tehsil in the last few months. Moreover all the deceased belonged to the economically weaker section and their beneficiaries had filed for monetary assistance of Rs 20,000 under the state family benefit scheme.”

The authorities at the tehsil level, reportedly forwarded the death certificates and applications filed by the beneficiaries to the office of the panchayat secretary. However, during scrutiny of the documents, the staff at the office of panchayat secretary smelt a rat and sent the applications to the office of district social welfare officer(DSWO) who in turn forwarded it to the office of district magistrate(DM).

Talking to TOI, additional district magistrate (administration), Arun Kumar, said, “I have already asked the SDM, Faridpur to probe the matter and submit a report after which further action would be taken against employees involved in the racket. Perhaps these women were lured into a trap by some unscrupulous middlemen operating at the tehsil level who promised them quick money in return for becoming a part of this illegal practice.”

He added that similar cases have also been reported from Baheri and Meergunj tehsil and officials are investigating the matter to find out the main link in the whole scam.

Meanwhile district social welfare officer (DSWO) Ajay Kumar Singh said, “Once the documents submitted with the applications were found to be fake, a full fledged inquiry was ordered where it was found that claims of around 31 beneficiaries of the state family benefit scheme were totally false. Fraudsters had attached forged documents claiming government assistance under the scheme for persons whose antecedents are not even known.”

Source: The Times of India

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