Indian Army detects fraud by False Widow, but True widow yet to get pension
Nov 17, 2010
JAIPUR: The Armed Forces Tribunal at Jaipur has received a peculiar case wherein a woman continued to draw family pension from the Army impersonating as the widow of an ex-serviceman for 29 years. Interestingly, the ex-serviceman, who was alive till a few years ago, was also drawing his service pension all this while.
The fraud came to light only when the solider died and his 'genuine' widow approached the Army to claim the family pension.
The story however, took yet another queer turn when it withheld the family pension of the real claimant, purportedly on the ground that it first wanted to make a recovery from the imposter. Suffering for no fault of hers, the ex-serviceman's widow has been knocking at the Army authorities doors for the past four years.
Surprised at the alleged fraud and irregularity, the Tribunal issued notices to the Army authorities on November 12, seeking their reply within six weeks.
For Tijan Devi, the widow of the ex-serviceman Mahadeva, the ordeal started almost five years ago when her husband died in November 2005. Mahadeva joined the Indian Army in 1942 and retired as a sepoy in 1958. From 1958 to 2005, Mahadeva was getting his service pension without interruption. "But after his death, when his widow Tijan Devi approached the authorities for the family pension, she discovered to her horror that in the Army records her husband had been declared dead in 1973 and another woman, Kamala, was being paid the pension since September 1977," the victim's lawyer S B Singh told TOI on Tuesday.
When Tijan, resident of a village in Jhunjhunu district, registered a complaint with the local Army authorities, the district's branch recruiting officer, district collector and district soldier board carried out independent investigations. "The probe established that a woman, Kamala, was drawing the family pension impersonating as Tijan Devi," advocate Singh said.
The Army stopped paying pension to the imposter in 2006, but Tijan Devi is still being denied her right. "The forgery could not have taken place without involvement of officials of district pension department and the pension records office. Why criminal proceedings are not being initiated against the fraudsters," he asked.
The fraudsters had reportedly submitted an Army medal and a death certificate to the pension department to establish the death of Mahadeva in 1973. The accused Kamala is a resident of Baggad village near Jhunjhunu, while Mahadeva was a resident of Adwana near Udaipurwati.
The two villages are almost 60-km apart and there is no connection between the families of Kamala and Tijan Devi. It is learnt that an acquaintance of Kamala was employed at the district pension department.