Phidim, December 29
The Commission for the Investigations of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has started investigating irregularities in relation to the revenue received from foreign job aspirants for passport at Panchthar District Administration Office.
Officer Bishnu Theguwa and engineer Rakesh Roshan dispatched from the CIAA regional office Itahari have begun investigating financial anomalies at the DAO.
CIAA regional office Itahari Chief Dulluraj Basnet said staffers from the anti-graft body would investigate the amount of money received from passport applicants and the money deposited at the revenue account.
The irregularities came to light after Surendra Dahal, a staff from Passport Department, received Rs 10,000 from Anjit Darji of Ranitar-1, Panchthar and deposited only Rs 5,000 with the revenue account.
Darji had submitted the passport form to passport Department on December 22.
Surendra had taken Rs 10,000 but, he had filled out the second and third pages of the receipt with hand without using carbon copy. Then, Darji inquired whether or not the money was deposited at the revenue account.
Receipt number 2551 given to Darji shows Rs 10,000. However, the record at the DAO shows only Rs 5,000 deposited amount.
Panchthar Assistant CDO Keshav Prasad Rijal confirmed that only Rs 5,000 had been deposited from the issued receipt with the revenue account. “I smelled a rat when I was handed the handwritten pages. When I approached the DAO the next day, I knew I was cheated,” Darji added.
The law has it that DAO can charge Rs 5,000 for a passport to be distributed by the DAO after it is returned from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Anyone wanting to take the passport from the ministry itself should pay Rs 10,000.
Darji said that even CDO Purushottam Ghimire had told him that it would cost Rs 10,000 when he approached the CDO.
Twenty-five to 30 persons visit the DAO for recommendation for passport on a daily basis. Of them, half are people who have lost their previous passports and travel documents. Locals suspect the irregularity might have been going on in cahoots with the DAO.
CDO Ghimire said that Surendra Dahal told him that the mistake was accidental not deliberate. Dahal admitted he received Rs 10,000 and said he had erred while recording the amount.
The CIAA team said the incident would be probed and if found guilty, it would recommend action.
A version of this article appears in print on December 30, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.