Accountant accused of pilfering Treasury money to be 'summarily dismissed'

Accountant accused of pilfering Treasury money to be 'summarily dismissed'
Dismissed treasury officer M R Bijulal.

The treasury officer, M R Bijulal, who has been accused of embezzling treasury funds, and who on August 1 was suspended pending enquiry, has been summarily dismissed from service on Monday.

Further, all officials of the Additional Sub-Treasury, Vanchiyoor, barring Sub Treasury Officer Baburaj who discovered the fraud, have been temporarily transferred.

The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting convened by finance minister T M Thomas Isaac and attended by finance secretary R K Singh and senior Treasury Department officials in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.

"This is not just a mere irregularity. What Bijulal has done is a grave cyber crime," the finance minster said in a Facebook post after the meeting. "The dismissal order will be issued in a few days after completing the necessary procedures," the minister added.

A special investigation team comprising three senior officials of the Finance Department and one member of National Informatics Centre have been constituted to examine the issue comprehensively. The team has been asked to submit its report in five days.

"Action will be taken against higher officials in the Treasury on the basis of this report. The probe will also examine whether anyone else in the Vanchiyoor Sub Treasury is involved in the fraud," Isaac said.

The minister said that the Treasury software would be subjected to a re-audit. Further, he said a joint team of NIC and the Treasury IT Cell will be formed to conduct a function audit. "The team will check whether such incidents had happened in any other offices of the Treasury," Isaac said.

Accountant's cyber crime

The charge against Bijulal, detailed in a report submitted by the district treasury officer, is that he had illegally transferred Rs two crore from the Special Treasury Savings Bank (STSB) account of the district collector to his own TSB account on July 27. He had done this using his own ID and password. And then he got this ratified by fraudulently using the password of a Sub-Treasury officer who had retired nearly two months ago on May 31.

That the user ID and password of a retired officer had not been deactivated has come as a surprise. The finance minster said steps would be taken to automatically deactivate the digital ID once an official retires.

It was also found that Rs 60 lakh from the amount thus credited to his TSB account was shifted to a second TSB account that Bijulal held. It was also noticed that money had been withdrawn from this account many times.

To erase his footmarks, Bijulal deleted the transfer after he credited the money to his account. This gave the impression that the money was still in the Collector's STSB account when it was not. But Bijulal was unable to mask the extra amount in his account; the money that he criminally showed as existing in Collector's account was present in his own account, too.

It was this duplication, which was uncovered two days after he made the illegal transfer, that undid Bijulal.

Bijulal's wife claims ignorance

Meantime, his wife, a teacher, who has also been implicated in the crime, put out an audio clip saying she had no knowledge that her husband had transferred the money to her account. Earlier, it was said that Bijulal had transferred the money to the TSB accounts of his wife and sister.

The wife also said that Bijulal had spoken to her of losing money in online gambling.

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