A recent probe has zeroed in on a corruption scandal in Chhota Udepur district of Gujarat, surrounding a fraudulent government office on the Bodeli-Naswadi road at Bodeli. Some dishonest officials were found to be successfully running this fictitious government office for two years within the grant administrator’s office.
They engaged in deceptive communications and endorsed misleading proposals. In response to this revelation, the local police took action, detaining two individuals from Vadodara and taking them in custody.
The illegal activities came to light during a meeting in Chhota Udepur to discuss an irrigation scheme under the Deanseg project. Key officials, including Preksha Goswami, the Executive Engineer of Chhota Udepur District Panchayat, and Vimal Damor, the project manager, participated in the gathering. During the meeting, twelve proposals related to the Udawahan Sinchai Yojana of Border Village Yojana were received. However, a surprising revelation surfaced during the discussions.
Dhaval K Patel, Executive Engineer of the Irrigation Project Division-II, asserted that his office had yet to receive any proposals and clarified that his office was not located in Bodeli. This raised immediate concerns among government officials, leading to a comprehensive investigation by the newly appointed IAS officer, Sachin Kumar.
The study exposed six fraudulent proposals, valued in lakhs of rupees, submitted between 2021-23. It was determined that the Executive Engineer of the Irrigation Project in Bodeli had established a counterfeit office in the name of “Bodeli,” falsified signatures in the officer’s name, and obtained government grants by submitting deceptive proposals.
Subsequent investigations revealed that the wrongdoers had secured a total government grant of Rs. 4.15 crore through 93 projects over two years. Acting under the guidance of IAS officer Sachin Kumar, Javid Ibrahim Maknojia, a Junior Clerk at the Sponsorship Administrator’s Office, filed a complaint with the Chhota Udepur Police Station. As a result of the investigation, the police apprehended two individuals Sandeep Rameshbhai Rajput and Abubakar Zakir Ali Syed, both from Vadodara.
Requests from the fraudulent office that didn’t even exist on the government’s records for the past two years were submitted and approved, and checks in their names were also prepared and deposited in banks.
The matter was swept under the rug. If the police were to investigate, the responsibilities of previous government officials and employees who might have been involved could also come to light.
In 2021-2022, approval and allocation were made for ten jobs under the Gujarat Pattern Scheme worth Rs 59.87 lakh, for 20 tasks related to providing water in women’s Anganwadi centres worth Rs 1 crore and for ten jobs in the nuclear budget worth Rs 37.50 lakh.
In 2022-2023, the same was done for 16 jobs under the Gujarat Pattern Scheme worth Rs 40.66 lakh, for 23 tasks related to providing water in women’s homes at Anganwadi centres worth Rs 1.26 crore and for 14 jobs in the nuclear budget worth Rs 51.00 lakh.