An amount of Rs 100 crore meant for midday meal (MDM) scheme across Jharkhand remained deposited wrongly in the account of a construction company, allegedly due to a lapse on part of a State Bank of India (SBI) official in Ranchi.
Sources said the money remained parked in the wrong account between August 5 and September 19. The bank has returned the entire amount to the MDM account and has launched an internal inquiry into the matter. SBI officials said at least Rs 70 crore has recovered, and efforts are on to recover the remaining Rs 30 crore.
SBI Ranchi zone
The official responsible for the anomaly — a deputy manager with SBI’s Hatia branch, which the treasury branch — has suspended, SBI deputy general manager (Ranchi zone) D K Panda said. “We also reached the CBI unit in Ranchi and got a formal complaint lodged,” Panda said. “In fact, after the amount got credited into the construction company’s account, it was rerouted to around seven or eight other accounts of the company.” Confirming that the amount has been returned, a senior official of the state Education department said, “MDM was not disrupted anywhere due top this.”
The official said a decision would taken about lodging an FIR after consultation at senior level. Sources said the officer handling the MDM scheme, as well as some top officials of the department, are on leave. The Education department official said, “We release the amount quarterly. The anomaly came to light when the second quarterly amount released. When the bank concerned asked to release the amount, they said there was no money. The matter checked, which revealed that the money had released from the authority concerned. The bank conceded that it credited to a wrong person.”
SBI’s Panda said the issue came to light when transfer of the money from the MDM account to accounts of all 24 districts through RTGS/ NEFT failed “due to a glitch”. He said, “Ideally, the amount in that case should have returned to the main account and then redistributed. But at the stage of redistribution, the person concerned credited it in the current account belonging to a construction company.”