Forest Dept clerk transfers Rs.50,000 from DFO's account; suspended

Forest Dept clerk transfers Rs.50,000 from DFO's account; suspended
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Thrissur: the Forest Department has placed a senior clerk under suspension after it found that he transferred money from the official account of the Malayattoor Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) to his personal account.

Initial inquiries revealed that the clerk had transferred money multiple times. It is suspected that he misused the login credentials, including the password, of senior officials to commit the fraud. 

It could be confirmed that the last transaction was to the tune of Rs.50,000.

The Kodanad police have started an investigation on a complaint by the Forest Department. The police took possession of the registers and account books in this regard.

The errant official reportedly was in financial distress and had been part of various land deals in the locality, sources said.

The fraud didn’t come to light as he managed to repay the amount taken before it came to anyone’s notice. This time, other officials, including the DFO noticed it as the amount was Rs.50,000.

Chief Conservator of Forest Deepak Mishra said the official had been suspended. Sources said only a detailed investigation could ascertain how much money had been swindled.

This fraud comes to light as the state is in the midst of another treasury money-laundering, in Thiruvananthapuram. In that case, a senior accountant by name M.R. Bijulal managed to transfer Rs 2 crore from the official account of the District Collector to his personal account. Investigators had stated that the accountant used the password of a reportedly unsuspecting senior official to ‘ratify’ his transactions.

The investigators would examine if these frauds had any connection and whether the operating patterns had any similarity.

The fraudsters made use of loopholes in the software to execute their transactions. Such transfers usually stay under the radar of senior officials as routine and daily closings happen at the end of each working day. Only larger and conclusive audits detect such errant outgo, sources familiar with the matter said.

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