New Delhi, Jan 16 : The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against a Sub Inspector of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and other unknown persons over allegations that 754 officers of SSB were involved in fraudulent claims of Leave Travel Concession (LTC) from 2014 to 2017.
The CBI had registered a case on December 16 last year on a complaint from the SSB's Vigilance Department against Milan Kherkatary and other unknown persons under several sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act).
In its complaint, the SSB alleged that a case of fraudulent claims of Leave Travel Concession (LTC) came to notice in 2018 in which about 754 officers of the force were alleged to have been involved in fraudulent claim of LTC from 2014 to 2017.
The complaint further alleged that "they all had their tickets booked through Kherkatary, who illegally booked LTC tickets of officers of force headquarters, SSB, New Delhi, 25th Battalion SSB Ghitorni and was probably also done for other persons outside SSB." It further said that Kherkatary received commissions for editing air or train tickets from lower rates to higher rates.
"The entire case of alleged claiming of false or fraudulent LTC bills is a case that went on for a considerable period of time in which different categories of government servants, combatised or non-combatised, SSB personnel or non-SSB personnel, were involved," it said.
The complaint further said that initially 25 cases were examined in which total involvement of claim was for more than Rs 27 lakh. "Now with approximately 754 personnel getting involved, the amount of fraudulent transactions of LTC appears to be running into several crores," it said.
It said that after enquiries, it emerged that Kherkatary used to edit the air or train tickets from lower rates to higher rates and institutionalised the fraud by printing fake tickets or boarding passes.
It also said that Kherkatary engaged himself in the business of a travel agent and he held several credit cards in his name and in the name of his wife and also used to make credit cards of some officers of SSB. "It is very likely that a racket was being operated at SSB headquarters, in which Kherakatary was the key operator," it said.
The complaint also alleged that Kherkatary not only altered the amount in the tickets but also printed the fake tickets or boarding passes.
"People have been able to enter airports through these fake tickets, get boarding passes and undertake journeys on the edited tickets," the complaint alleged.
It said that fake boarding passes were deposited for LTC claims which have passed the scrutiny of accounts branch of SSB, which means either they have been printed on original blank boarding passes or duplicate passes of "very high quality".
"All this happened for over four years. And this implies that anybody can easily enter the airport with such fake tickets and go up to boarding areas with such fake boarding pass," it said.
The complaint further said that names of two officials of Air India -- Sunita Kumar and Kamal Kishore -- travel agents at Port Blair and Havelock, have also surfaced.
"The activity went on for a very long period in which 754 personnel along with families travelled on these fake tickets but never got detected by any of the agencies operating at airports like airline staff, CISF etc," it added.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)