BMC job scam: Using the dead to run a recruitment racket
The Crime Branch has blown the lid off an employment scam where people lie about their identities — and that of their parents — to land jobs as sweepers, paying between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh each. A Class IV BMC sweeper earns between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000 a month.
Last month, Shivprasad Tiwari of Consumer Social Work Sanstha came across the case of a BMC employee, who had been working as a sweeper in D ward, under the fictitious name Poonam Kamble. Pic/Suresh KK
The Crime Branch has registered an FIR following a complaint by a social worker, Shivprasad Tiwari, who came across a sweeper who had landed the job using fraudulent means. The Crime Branch is investigating more than 350 people across wards on suspicion that they got the jobs by posing as children of dead employees.
The D-Ward office, where more than 30 staffers have been recruited fraudulently, cops suspect. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Sources said the scam is widespread and that over 350 sweepers across all 24 wards are under investigation. Those under the scanner include higher level BMC officials.
How it works
In the BMC, when a Class IV employee dies or retires, a member of their immediate family can claim a job under what is called ‘compassionate grounds’. However, there are times when the job remains unclaimed, like, for instance, when the staffer is childless.
Pic for representation
Such cases can be exploited if someone else were to create a false identity and pretend to be the staffer’s child and claim the job. Most of them don’t even report to work – they just sign the muster and draw salary. This is exactly what Tiwari found in October, when he came across a woman who had been appointed as a sweeper in D-Ward (Grant Road) under the fake name Poonam Kamble.
Social worker Shivprasad Tiwari came across a sweeper who landed the job using fraudulent means; he promptly informed the Crime Branch. Pic/Suresh KK
Tiwari, the joint secretary at Consumer Social Work Sanstha, a Dadar-based NGO that works against social injustice, told mid-day, “One of our workers tipped us off about a sweeper who had got a job at the BMC under the fictitious name Poonam Kamble. We learnt that a massive job racket was flourishing in the BMC for seven to eight years.
We managed to win the confidence of one of the culprits, who was upset that he wasn’t getting a proper share in the scam. He spilled the beans about the other members and the operation.” “The network is spread across almost all the 24 wards of the BMC,” added Tiwari, who went to the police with the information.
Last week, the Crime Branch (Unit III) registered an FIR after it verified Tiwari’s allegations about Kamble, who was posing as the daughter of a dead employee. The police said they have identified a few of the masterminds of the scam and are investigating further.
Sources in the Crime Branch revealed that the racket had spread across almost all of the civic body, and that there are over 350 cases of fraudulent recruitment. “We suspect that more than 30 employees have been recruited using fake names in the D-ward alone.
The Crime Branch has zeroed in on some of the masterminds. To begin with, we have written to the ward that falls in our jurisdiction, asking them for all the cases in which jobs were given on compassionate grounds. We will go through all these cases,” said a Crime Branch official.
The officer added, “Since some of the people in the racket work in the BMC, they have access to all the inside information. First, they get details of the childless employees who have either died or retired. The group then helps to recruit sweepers by arranging fake documents so they can pretend to be the sons and daughters of such employees by arranging fake certificates using fictitious names.”
The scam doesn’t end there. The racketeers also kept a watch on employees who were transferred to other wards and then stole their identities. “In case an employee took a transfer to some other ward, the group took advantage of that as well.
The accused would bribe the ward officials so they could recruit someone else for the same job, under the same name of the earlier staffer. As a result, there are several cases in which two different employees were found working under the same identity at two separate ward offices,” another officer explained.
Additional Municipal Commissioner for the island city, Pallavi Darade told this paper, “We came to know about the case only on Thursday. We are cooperating fully with the Crime Branch.”