In a joint surprise check, officials of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption seized ₹19.80 lakh of unaccounted cash from government offices across the State. While ₹4.67 lakh was seized from the office of the Sub-Registrar, Ambattur in Chennai, ₹2.24 lakh and ₹1.67 lakh were seized from the offices of the Block Development Officer, Tiruchendur and Sub-Registrar’s office, Thiruverumbur. ₹1.60 lakh was found in the office of the District Fire Officer, Madras High Court campus, Chennai.
Officials could not account for the cash seized in the simultaneous checks conducted by the DVAC and District Inspection Cell officials three days ahead of Deepavali.
The quantum of unaccounted cash is calculated on the basis of the cash-on-hand declarations made by the officials at the time of entering office, a senior DVAC official said.
The searches were conducted in 15 districts and Chennai City. The Transport, Registration, Rural Development and TASMAC were among the departments covered in the checks conducted on October 23 and 24.
“The searches were organised following a specific tip-off that certain officials were receiving Deepavali ‘mamool’ or gifts from different sources. The cash has been seized and special teams formed to investigate the case,” the official said.
It is normal for the DVAC to conduct searches ahead of festivals like Deepavali or Pongal in government offices, particularly the Registration and Transport departments. The unaccounted cash seizures are followed by registration of cases and transfer of the officials concerned. Criminal prosecution or departmental action would be based on the outcome of the investigation, a senior investigator added.