Travel Ventures International Scam: Central Rly minor penalties to staffers

Nagpur:  The Central Railway Nagpur Division inquiry report in the TVI Express (Travel Ventures International) scam, running into a few crores, has been systematically diluted by issuing minor penalties to most of the employees who were deeply involved in the fraud.

Central Railway officials collected Rs.15,500 each from employees and outsiders by influencing their official position to make them TVI members by offering four-day and three nights’ stay in five-star hotels along with double returns.

Ajay Raj, Assistant Personnel Officer (APO), took 10 months to submit the inquiry report.  A copy of the report received under the RTI shows that the entire proceedings and findings of the probe have been camouflaged.

TVI scam involved at least 300 railway employees and an equal numbers of outsiders who were duped of crores of rupees. However, the probe did not go into the depth of the issue and examined only a handful witnesses. This is contrary to the inquiry conducted by the vigilance department from Mumbai wherein statements of at least 40 witnesses and victims were recorded. The vigilance department is yet to submit its report in this case.

The report states that accused officials’ admitted their wives were also involved. However, TOI is in possession of documents which shows that officials were involved in the business.

A membership pyramid of 75 shows names of officials J L Joshi, PK Shesha, Smriti Dayani, Deepika Pradhan among others.

On February 16, 2011, Shesha’s wife had even written to TVI to change her name from Prathana to Sadhana.

Despite this, the report tries to dilute the gravity of the scam by stating that there is no direct allegation or statement that kingpin of TVI scam Komal Gajbhiye, D K Soni and P D Raut took subscription money. However, it says their presence in the meetings organized to promote TVI memberships influenced complainants and people.

“These employees violated Rule 15 (D) of the Conduct Rules which states that no railway servant shall, except with the previous sanction of the government – canvass in support of any business of insurance, commission etc owned by member of his family,” the report stated.

The probe categorized TVI, a Ponzi scheme, as commission agency, instead.

The report states that movement inspectors Komal Gajbhiye, PD Raut, JL Joshi, SH Jalali, SS Karnale, area supervisor SK Jaiswal, goods guard JK Gaurav and stenographer with signalling department Smriti Dayani have acted in a manner which is unbecoming of railway servant by violating service rules.

Yet, the report let off Joshi, Jalali, Karnale, Soni, Gaurav and Jaiswal by issuing minor penalty charge sheet (SF-11), while Gajbhiye and Raut were issued heavy penalty charge sheet (SF-5). The senior divisional signalling & telecommunication engineer (Sr.DSTE) took a lenient view about Smriti Dayani, despite probe ordering a stern action.

BURYING A SCAM?

APO submitted report in a haste ahead of vigilance probe. The idea was perhaps to subside gravity of scam

Report admits officials and employees attended seminars/meetings conducted by kingpin Komal Gajbhiye and others and actively participated in TVI marketing to earn easy money

The administration shifted some employees, but favoured them by posting either at Nagpur or Ajni ignoring registration of other employees

Involved supervisors are still working in DRM office including Dayani. Even recommendation of Dayani’s transfer disregarded

Inquiry was completed on February 7, 2013, but charge sheets were issued after 6 months when the matter was raised by Times of India.

One of the employees who was transferred to Ajni has hardly worked in the field.

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