A judge of India’s Madras high court draws a basic pay of rupees 80 thousand, dearness allowance of 96 thousand, sumptuary allowance of 12 thousand, house rent allowance of 24 thousand besides a 10 lakh rupee Honda City car, 100 litres of fuel worth 10 thousand, furnishings for the residence for a sum of 3 lakh rupees, 10 thousand units of electricity annually, and 10 thousand litres of water per day, (which runs to 36 lakh litres annually), besides innumerable crores of rupees can be spent on local/international healthcare, gardener’s, house-maids & mazdoors.
The hard cash alone turns out to be around 2 lakhs & 22 thousand rupees per month.
However the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu draws a monthly salary 27 thousand rupees only.
Despite drawing 2.25 lakhs per month, which is almost 10 times the salary drawn by the Tamilnadu Chief Minister, Sivagnanam has resorted to the cheapest fraud that even a pick-pocket would feel-shy to commit.
In Tamilnadu the government owned electricity department charges consumers according to the quantum of electricity consumed. For instance the first 200 units of power consumed (every 2 months) is charged at a maximum of rupees 2 per unit. The next three hundred (viz 201 to 500 units) are charged at a maximum of rupees 5 per unit. All units above 500 are charged at Rupees 5.75 per unit.
Whereas each house ought to possess only one electricity connection, Sivagnanam managed to secure 2 electricity connections in the name of his father Subbiah, for his house at Kilpauk bearing service connection numbers 09-262-003-546 & 09-262-003-764.
Utilising the dual connections, he managed to defraud the government for a petty sum of Rs.650/- per month.
For instance, in the government register shown below, the meter reading for connection number 546 is 1420 units, for which Sivagnanam has paid a sum of Rs.7130.
For the second connection bearing number 746, he has paid a sum of Rs.1060 for the 410 units consumed.
Had it not been for the double connection fraud, the 410 units would have been billed at Rs.2357.50 (410 * 5.75 Rs). Having paid only Rs 1060, Sivagnanam has cheated the government of a sum of Rs 1297.50 for the month of January 2013 alone.
Interestingly, he has claimed the said sums of 1060 & 7130 from the government, and secured refund of both the sums.
From the date of assuming office as a judge of the Madras High Court, in March 2009, Sivagnanam has thus far embezzled 46,800 rupees through the double connection technique alone.
Furthermore, in these 6 years, he has obtained re-imbursements of upto 3 lakh rupees from the government, on account of these electricity connections alone. He has also cheated the government of India to the tune of 1 lakh rupees by not paying income-tax for this 3 lakhs.
The annual ceiling of 10 thousand units of electricity was breached and reaches an average of 14 thousand units on an average, and yet by misusing his office as a judge, Sivagnanam managed to influence government officials to pay him the charges for the entire quantum of 14,000 units without raising a finger.
The sum cheated on this front amounts to Rs 1 lakh and 48 thousand, which needs to be recovered with interest.
A formal complaint has been preferred with the President of India as well as the Sub-Inspector of Esplanade police station for criminal action under 420 IPC against Sivagnanam as well as the officials of the Pay & Accounts department of Tamilnadu government who are responsible for this fraud.
Furthermore, separate representations have been made to the electricity department as well as the income-tax department for recovery of the sums of Rs.46,800, Rs.1, 48,000 and the 1 lakh tax-fraud.
NEXT ISSUE – Another Judge, Another fraud ….