A probe by Panchkula’s Social Welfare Department has found that at least 24 beneficiaries of Haryana’s widow pension scheme have been withdrawing money fraudulently every month on the basis of fake death certificates of their husbands.
According to officials, around 10 such women were contacted by the department in the past month and have since returned the pension amount, which is paid by the government at Rs 1800 per month per beneficiary, along with an 11% interest.
The beneficiaries, officials said, had started obtaining widow pensions on the basis of fake documents since 2021.
Officials said that most of the beneficiaries who are under the scanner are from Mauli, Jatwal, Raipurrani villages and from areas near Barwala. They also added that the Haryana CM Flying Squad, along with the local CID unit of Panchkula, are continuing their probe in the matter.
The beneficiary of the widow pension scheme must be a domicile of Haryana, the widow’s age should be above 18 years at the time of application, her income from all sources should be below Rs 2 lakh per annum to be eligible for applying for this scheme.
“The matter came to our notice when we started verifying the submitted claims of some widows. The documents that need to be submitted include applications, death certificates. Our internal findings indicate that some of the death certificates submitted were not genuine. The husbands of some women were found alive. We made a detailed list of such beneficiaries and reached out to a few of them. Some of them admitted their fault and we have recovered the amount that they fraudulently had withdrawn, along with 11 per cent interest from them. The CM Flying Squad, Haryana, has started a probe in this connection,” Vishal Saini, District Social Welfare Officer, Panchkula, said.
Sources said that the role of a Karnal resident, identified as Jetinder Kumar, is currently under the scanner, along with one of his female accomplice. The woman in question is a resident of Panchkula. Sources said the role of certain village sarpanches and lambardars, who are authorized to verify/approve the applications of their respective villagers, is also being looked into.
The district social welfare department has also moved a police complaint with Panchkula police in ths regard.
Sources said the women in question got the fake death certificates prepared for around Rs 15,000 each. Officials said that the Panchkula district health department has shortlisted a bunch of people who obtained fake death certificates.