KOLKATA, 22 JUNE: The Governor has asked the state home secretary to conduct an inquiry into possible cases of people drawing freedom fighters’ pension illegally in East Midnapore. This comes in the wake of the state government&’s discovery of 12 persons who had been drawing freedom fighter’s pension in the district. The cases came to light following an inquiry conducted by the district administration.
The Union ministry of home affairs had recently intimated the district administration of the malpractice.
A freedom fighter is entitled to a monthly pension of Rs 25,000, and free gas and telephone connection, besides free travel in AC-II tier, along with an attendant.
The deputy secretary to the ministry of home affairs had received a complaint regarding a person named Mr Tarapada Tewary, who was drawing freedom fighter’s pension by giving false date of birth. The deputy secretary sent the complaint to the home department, asking for an inquiry. Mr Tewary, in his application for pension, had stated that he was imprisoned during the Quit India movement. During investigation, it was found that Mr Tewary joined Mahishadal Raj High School on 10 January, 1944 in class IV. This means that in 1942, he was about 7 years and 6 months old ~ not an age when he could have been arrested.
The investigation report stated, "A warrant of arrest can neither be issued nor be legally effective against a child of more or less seven and a half years old." On getting the report, the ministry of home affairs on 7 May cancelled his pension.
In a note to the state government, the ministry stated, "In view of the above, and in terms of your order nos 5/8/2008-FP (P) dated 5.10.2009 where it has been categorically stated that only claimants above 15 years at the time of their participation in the freedom movement would be eligible for Samman Pension. This department’s earlier pension recommendation for Mr Tewary is withdrawn.
Villagers have written to the Governor urging him to ask the East Midnapore officials to arrest those who were caught for drawing Samman pension illegally. There are over 250 pensioners in the district.