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The Delhi government and the media were responsible for the controversy over the issue of salaries being paid to non-existent employees of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the civic agency told the Delhi High Court Thursday.

The MCD’s affidavit was filed after the court took note of a public suit filed by the Jagrook Welfare Society seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged scam.

In May last year, the court directed the Delhi Police chief to conduct an independent inquiry into the case after allegations that a probe by the civic agency itself would not be proper.It was alleged that MCD had paid Rs.500 crore as salaries to ghost employees over the last five years.

“Since only 79,559 employees were found enrolled on the biometric attendance system, the gap of 22,853 was noticed and the same was termed as ghost employees by a section of the media,” said the MCD affidavit filed before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

“As on Nov 20, 2009, total number of employees was 127,094, out of which 24,682 school staff were not intended to be covered under the biometric attendance system,” it added.

All employees were not marking their attendance through the biometric system, and therefore, a certain gap in the numbers was inevitable, the affidavit, filed by MCD Commissioner K.S. Mehra, said.

Mehra said that the biometric system was installed despite stiff opposition from employees’ unions.

The MCD also said the Delhi government pegged the number of ghost employees at different levels in its various lists submitted to the police, thus muddling the probe.

The court fixed Aug 4 as the next date of hearing.

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