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Nearly 2 years on, SR ‘probes’ parcel scam at Chennai Central
An official hearing has commenced in Southern Railway (SR) over a year and a half after ‘busting’ of a parcel scam involving officials, staff and agents at Chennai Central.
Assistant commercial manager Durai Babu, due for retirement in roughly a month, was understood to have summoned all witnesses and accused on Wednesday in connection with the disappearance of 11 ‘impounded’ parcel bundles (garments) worth several lakhs from Chennai Central in November 2018.
Officials stumbled upon the scam after 11 bundles meant for dispatch on Howrah Express on November 8 were found lying unclaimed on a station platform. Inquiries revealed they were part of a 30-bundle garment consignment. Ironically, neither the consignee nor the staff at Howrah reported about the missing parcels, prompting officials to suspect a larger scam.
That the parcels went missing from railway custody created ripples in the zonal headquarters with the authorities transferring at least half a dozen staff, including a deputy chief ticketing inspector of an influential employees’ union, only to be reinstated a few months later. Pertinently, the parcel supervisor, who was the complainant in the case, was shunted afar.
A railway source privy to the hearing told DT Next that the ACM was also involved in wrapping up the official probe into the muster roll scam, in which the prime accused, belonging the same union, was reprimanded with cancellation of four travel passes on the verge of his retirement, a punishment usually awarded for simplest of offences in railway circles.
“All witnesses and the accused turned up today. The ACM has asked a few questions to the witnesses individually. He might wind up the hearing with today’s exercise or after a couple of days. It does not seem to be done to punish the guilty,” said a railway officer who did not wish to be named.
When asked, an official spokesman of SR said, “Several cases are pending for over a year. DRM has instructed officials to expedite them. Inquiry would be held as per the rules.”