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How Aadhaar linking exposed pension scam in Andhra Pradesh

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Krishna Baalu Iyer
Krishna Baalu Iyer
Columnist, poet, Activist-Heritage lover, Ancient Indian History, Architecture Twitter @IndusSpirit

‘A lie told often enough becomes the truth’ Maybe this was the truth-scenario in Russia during Lenin’s revisionist period, but not in India now, under Narendra Modi anymore.

Modi haters made it a point that every successful scheme of Modi Government is ideally targeted to discredit the BJP Government. And they seem to be on a rush drive through this slander agenda to achieve their dream goal of defeating Modi in 2019. The leftist portals breeding lie flies like the one that was misreported as a ‘hunger death’ of a Jharkhand girl blaming it on the refused ration to the family due to delay in seeding Aadhar with ration cards.

However, truth always prevails over the lie, even if it is told a trillion times. Aadhar linking has now exposed:

  • 3.5 crores fake LPG connections.
  • 1.6 crores fake ration cards.
  • 4.4 lakh ghost students in mid-day meal scheme (in just 3 states) and many more.

Apart from Modi Government’s Ghostbuster program through Aadhar linking, there are many ghosts that are being busted in the Southern states as well, which were not reported by the “Congress-friendly-BJP-repulsive-English media”. The case in hand is the one that is shaking the ruling party right now in Andhra Pradesh. The failure of Aadhar seeding with pension accounts now taking its toll. The entire rot has now been exposed and the reading of each incident of the scam below will treat us like fantasy stories.

Before this, we should recall how the UIDAI in 2014-15 had to cancel 3.8 lakhs fake Aadhar Cards. This action is obviously a necessary pre-emptive step to implement any meaningful Aadhar seeding program with other services of any statutory authorities of the State or Central Government.

In September this year, the Jharkhand Government has announced that they have saved 200 crores by linking Aadhar with Pension accounts across the state.

Out of 16 lakh pension accounts, over 3 lakh pension accounts were found to be fake when pension beneficiaries bank accounts were linked with Aadhar, and this has saved the state exchequer a whopping Rs 200 crore per year.

However, the scenario in Andhra Pradesh was strange and shocking too. In its report in 2015, the UIDAI authority has revealed the following, pinpointing the state of Andhra Pradesh for malpractices.

“Recently 3.8 lakh fake Aadhaar cards were cancelled by Unique Identification Authority of India. These cards were generated under biometric clause. In Biometric clause some of the enrollment agencies were given permission not to take biometric details of the users like retinal scan, iris scan etc. In this case the enrollment center only required the photograph of the individual and demographic details like address, date of birth etc. By making a single enrollment the agency gets Rs 50 and there are even some agencies which generate false money through the enrollment procedure also.

One of the officials from Unique Identification authority of India said, “Most of the 45,000 undelivered Aadhaar letters in Andhra Pradesh were under this exception clause. It gave rise to a suspicion and then a later examination brought into the knowledge that out of 48.8 lakh Aadhaar produced in the state, 2.3 lakh Aadhaar numbers were found bogus and eventually were cancelled by the authority”. Apart from Andhra Pradesh, there are some other states where fake Aadhaar card enrollments were done.”

The above announcement of UIDAI in 2015 must have some absorbing links with the following ghost pensioners and the related scam that was exposed by the Telugu daily ‘Eenadu’ just a few days ago.

Immediately after the UIDAI ‘s above announcement the AP Government has announced a plan to link Aadhar with 21 services that include Pensioner’s accounts too. However, why the AP Government had failed in weeding out the ghost pensioners in the next 2 years, remain a mystery.

The Enadu Telugu daily came out with a sensational revelation of Pension Scam in Andhra Pradesh. (November 2017) As per yesterday’s report (07-12-2017) in Eenadu’ one Mr. Appala Raju, the suspected Kingpin in the scam has been taken into custody and further investigations are on to catch the big fishes involved in the scam in the District Treasury offices in Vizag and other places.

1)  The pensioner’s who were long dead were still drawing pensions as if alive.
2) Nearly Rs 100 crores were drawn and changed hands
3) in Vizag district alone Rs 25 crores were looted from the Government treasury
4) In Ongole and Tenali Rs 40 lakhs and Rs 2 lakhs were misused.

The modus operandi is to prepare fake pension papers and to create Living- certificates of the dead pensioner’s and loot the treasury. Interesting stories below.

P Seshagiramma of Vizag was expired on 13-12-2011 and the SBI Palem branch stopped the family pension to her. Within just 3 months, the District Treasury officer at Seethammadhara had opened another family pension account in her name. A pension account was opened in Andhra Bank Akkayya Palem branch and the ghost was drawing the family pension till 31-03-2017, totalling to Rs 18,85,419-00.

Lakshmibai of Vizag was expired on 19-09-2011. Yet, the ghost was continuously drawing pension through her ATM card. This is, hugely an unusual aspect.

D. Ranganayakamma was expired in July 2011. So her pension was stopped, but the District treasury officer at Seethammadhara had another account opened in her name in Andhra Bank Muralinagar branch and continued to withdraw the pension until April 2017. The scamster had replaced the photo of the deceased photo and withdrew lakhs of rupees.

M. Krishna Rao was drawing a pension from Dwarakanagar Branch of SBI until March 2011 and then Bank stopped the pension payment, not sure of the pensioners living status. In the same year December, the sub-District treasury office at Seethammadhara, an another account was opened with Andhra Bank and syphoned off Rs 23,83,920/- with forged signatures.

Mr. Krupavaram was paid pension until June 2011. His pension was stopped later on as he did not show up himself for quite some time. However, the Seethammadhara  Sub Treasury office had one new account opened in his name in Akkayyapalem branch of Andhra Bank, and syphoned off Rs 22.78,865/- with forged signatures.

In Ongole District a similar modus operandi was adopted and Rs 40 lakhs were illegally withdrawn from the deceased pensioner’s accounts.

In Tenali sub-treasury office, Rs 15 lakhs were withdrawn from the account of late Mrs Kota Krishnamma. She died 10 years ago.

In Vizag again, one Mr. Seetharama Rao’s pension account was transferred to Hyderabad branch in March 2011, Yet an amount of Rs 20,83,523/- was syphoned off from a fictitious account of the pensioner in Waltair branch of Andhra Bank during the period from July 2012 to October 2016.

in Vizag sub-treasury office alone over 1,133 deceased pensioner’s regular pension was continuously withdrawn with forged signatures and photos. Out of this, in just 12 cases alone, an amount of Rs 1,14,03,095/- was detected to have been paid to the ‘ghosts’

The scamsters had made use of many transferred pension accounts. That is, when a pensioner shifts his residence to a new place, the relevant pension papers and the account too, would be transferred to the new place. The scamster would then create fake documents in the original place of the pensioners and withdraw the pension amount. In Seethammadhara sub-treasury office alone, an amount of Rs 6.8 crores were misused. In Vizag district alone, the amount misused is suspected to be around Rs 25 crores. That is two pension amounts were being withdrawn from one pension account.

It is also reported that, during a senior treasury officer’s retirement function, some Employees Unions had collected a whopping Rs 50 lakhs as a contribution. This incident alone is a standing testimony of the existing dubious mafia network among the treasury officers and other non-Gazetted employees.

In the state of Andhra Pradesh alone there are an estimated 3,49,301 retired Government employees drawing a monthly pension.

It is near impossible that a scam of this scale can persist for years without a dreaded mafia-type network working in a calculated manner, and without blessings of some Ministers.

It is abundantly clear, that the Chandrababu Naidu’s administrative machinery has miserably failed to detect this scam and allowed it to persist for nearly 6 years.

Now, it is left to the reader’s insight how Aadhar linking of pension accounts would have averted this mega scam, and saved the Andhra Pradesh Government of crores of rupees

PM Narendra Modi’s steadfast energy in the direction of a total implementation of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, Mobile, Wallet, cash-less economics will soon clean the rotten system in India and would present soon a modified new Super Power.

(This story is based on a reliable WhatsApp message with PDF copy received. The story appeared on the print edition of Eenadu few days ago. I prepared the above basing on the detailed copy of the original report).

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Krishna Baalu Iyer
Krishna Baalu Iyer
Columnist, poet, Activist-Heritage lover, Ancient Indian History, Architecture Twitter @IndusSpirit
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