New Delhi: In a nine-year-old case of financial misappropriation, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, who is the DDA chairman, has ordered an FIR against nine retired and two serving Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials. The LG has also ordered permanent withdrawal of the nine retired officials’ pension, officials told PTI, adding “Lt Governor VK Saxena, in his capacity as DDA chairman, has ordered that an FIR be registered against the then member (finance) and then member (engineering) of DDA, apart from nine other officials in a 2013 case of blatant financial misappropriation and violation of codal formalities, Central Public Works Department Works Manual.”
The LG took the stern measure considering the “grave misconduct and loss to the exchequer” even as the DDA recommended deducting only 25 per cent of the amount. The nine retired officials include a chief engineer, a superintendent engineer and an executive engineer while the others were employed in the finance and accounts departments. On “permanent withdrawal of full pension benefits”, officials said the LG took the stern measure considering the “grave misconduct and loss to the exchequer” even as the DDA recommended deducting only 25 per cent of the amount.
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The officials facing action include then Member (Engineering) Abhay Kumar Sinha, the then Member (Finance) Venkatesh Mohan, Chief Engineer (Retd) Om Prakash, Superintending Engineer (Retd) Nahar Singh, EE (Retd) JP Sharma, Dy. CAO (Retd) PK Chawla, AAO (Retd) Jasvir Singh, AAD (Retd) SC Mongia, AE (Retd) SC Mittal, AE (Retd) RC Jain, and AE (Retd) Dilbagh Singh Bains.
According to officials, the case relates to the work for up-gradation and beautification of Coronation Park at Kingsway Camp that was awarded in 2013, adding that the tender cost of the work was Rs 14.24 crore but additional works amounting to Rs 114.83 crore was carried out at Narela and Dhirpur, without any sanctions.
The original project cost of Rs 14.24 crore was escalated to Rs 28.36 crore and the same was further deviated with additional work at a different location altogether. This resulted in overall payment of Rs 142.08 crore to the agency. This gross irregularity was pointed out by the CAG in its report in 2016, officials told PTI, adding that the LG opined that this additional work should have been done through fresh tenders that would have not only saved crores in terms of competitive bidding but also ensured better quality.
“All laid down norms were violated to benefit the contractor in lieu of probable commissions,” officials said, adding that the execution of the additional work in question was approved by the then Chief Engineer (North Zone) on the day of his retirement i.E. October 31, 2014.
The then member (engineering) DDA had “granted in-principle approval” for carrying out additional work amounting for Rs 114. 83 crore, even as awarding any additional work required calling fresh tender, officials said. They said the LG expressed “serious displeasure” and issued the order of FIR against erring officials.
Officials quoted an LG order which said, “I am of the considered view that the entire sequence of events amounts to criminal breach of trust and the angle of corruption cannot be ruled out. Hence, it is directed to register FIR in this case against all concerned officials. A report to be submitted for my perusal within 15 days.”
Delhi LG V K Saxena’s actions after taking charge
Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena who took charge on May 26 this year has taken a flurry of actions, including in cases of corruption involving multiple agencies. Here are a list of various actions taken by him:
1. June 4: Saxena approved 918 posts under various categories at Indira Gandhi Hospital in Dwarka and approved conversion of 76 temporary posts at Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital into permanent ones.
2. June 20: Approval to Anti-Corruption Branch permission to investigate allegations of corruption against senior Public Works Department (PWD) officials in the construction of seven temporary hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. June 22: A deputy secretary in Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office and two sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) suspended on corruption charges.
4. June 24: An official of the Delhi government’s revenue department suspended for alleged “fraudulent” transfer of land to a private entity in south Delhi.
5. June 28: Saxena wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal refuting his deputy Manish Sisodia’s charge of favouring the BJP and urged him to restrain his ministers from making “misleading” assertions.
6. July 15: Recommended suspension of a senior official, who was the additional district magistrate of north Delhi under the Revenue department in 2021, over an alleged “scam” involving transfer of forest land to private individuals.
7. July 17: Granted the CBI sanction to prosecute AAP MLA and Delhi Waqf Board Chairman Amanatullah Khan in a case registered against him in 2016 over alleged illegal appointments.
8. July 18: Gave nod for a CBI investigation against a former sub-registrar of Hauz Khas for sale of government land measuring over eight bighas in the Saidul Ajaib area worth crores of rupees in December 2019.
9. July 21: Rejected the AAP government’s proposal for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Singapore visit to attend a summit on August 1
10. July 22: Recommended a CBI probe into the Kejriwal government’s Excise Policy 2021-22 over alleged violations of rules and procedural lapses.
11. July 23: Directed the chief secretary to submit a report on the role of officers and civil servants in alleged “illegal” formulation, amendments and implementation of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.
12. July 25: Sought a report from the chief secretary on allegations of cartelisation, facilitating monopolies and favouring blacklisted firms in award of liquor licences under Excise Policy 2021-22.
13. July 26: Approved withdrawal of 15 cases against 64 migrant labourers for violating lockdown measures during the pandemic.
14. July 26: Ordered suspension of six Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) officials on graft charges and for abusing official position.
15. July 27: Asked the Assembly speaker to make changes in rules for the conduct of business and procedure of the House under the GNCTD (Amendment) Act, 2021.
16. July 28: Turned down the proposal of the Arvind Kejriwal government for a fee hike in private diploma institutions in Delhi.
17. July 29: Directed the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) to conduct a time-bound probe into the alleged corruption and collusion between transport department officials and touts at the Burari Transport Authority.
18. August 5: Intervened to ensure clean water supply to the consulate of Montenegro, directing the chief secretary to resolve the issue immediately.
19. August 6: Suspended 11 officials, including then Delhi excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna and deputy excise commissioner Anand Kumar Tiwari, over “serious lapses” in the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22.
20. August 11: Ordered an FIR against nine retired and two serving Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials in a nine-year-old case of financial misappropriation.
(With PTI Inputs)