A massive scam has been unearthed in an administrative block of Bihar's Muzaffarpur district where, according to official records, a 65-year-old woman has given birth to eight girls in a span of just 14 months.
The bizarre phenomenon has been reported from the Musahari block where officials have allegedly altered records to siphon-off money from a scheme that seeks to incentivise the birth of a girl child and prevent female infanticide.
The matter came to light after Musahari Primary Health Centre in-charge Upendra Chaudhary discovered the records and lodged an FIR at the local police station.
"Leela Devi has been shown to have given birth to eight girls in 14 months and for every "childbirth", Rs 1,400 was transferred into her purported account. The amount has also been withdrawn by the beneficiary, according to the records," Mr Chaudhary said.
Similar disbursements have been shown in favor of Shanti Devi - also in her sixties - who, if the records of National Rural Health Mission were to be believed, gave birth to five children in nine months.
Sonia Devi has, likewise, delivered four children in five months.
When told about the benefits that were allegedly received by them, these women pointed towards their children, all middle-aged, in bewilderment and stated that it must have been decades since they last went into labour.
District Magistrate Chandrashekhar Singh has taken a strong note of the flagrant irregularities and ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter.
The inquiry committee headed by Additional District Collector Rajesh Kumar has prima facie found the charges of irregularities to be true. "Departmental action will be taken against those found guilty after a detailed probe which will be in addition to the legal punishment that may be awarded by a court of law in due course," he said.