*Involved police officers enjoying plum postings
JAMMU, Jan 3: Despite lapse of several months, the State Government has failed to initiate action against those officers of the Jammu and Kashmir Police Department who were involved in misappropriation of funds worth crores of rupees meant for carriage of constabulary and hiring of vehicles during the Parliamentary and State Assembly elections held in 2014. On the contrary, majority of the ‘accused’ officers are enjoying the plum postings mainly because of patronage from the higher-ups in the Police as well as Home Departments.
During the Parliamentary and Assembly elections held in 2014, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had provided Rs 115.68 crore to the J&K under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) for carriage of constabulary and hiring of vehicles.
The J&K Police Headquarters had kept this amount at the disposal of 68 Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) of the Police Department but huge amount was swindled by several police officers by manipulating the record vis-à-vis hiring of vehicles. They had even gone to the extent of showing scooters, motor-cycles, tractors and condemned vehicles as taxis and buses hired for the purpose of carrying constabulary for election duties.
The multi-crore scam was detected by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India during the audit of accounts of nine Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs), who were among 68 DDOs having received Rs 115.68 crore from the Police Headquarters.
Accordingly, Accountant General Audit, J&K vide Communication No. COCHOV/2015-16/07 dated March 28, 2016 brought the scam to the notice of the then Director General of Police. The Accountant General even provided 162-page report to the DGP for necessary action at his end.
The scam was first made public by EXCELSIOR in its edition dated April 25, 2016 by quoting the CAG report. Thereafter, the then DGP K Rajendra Kumar vide communication No. PHQ/Acctts/2016/49 dated June 4, 2016 referred the matter to the Crime Branch for holding time bound enquiry in the light of audit observations.
Though the Crime Branch completed the task assigned to it in a time bound manner and submitted the report to the Police Headquarters but its findings have not been made public till date. This can be gauged from the reply of Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who is Minister Incharge Home, in a written reply to the question of BJP MLA from Ramnagar, Ranbir Singh Pathania given in the Lower House today.
“The report of the Crime Branch endorsed by the PHQ is under examination in the Administrative Department”, the Minister Incharge Home said in response to a question about status of inquiry. In the absence of any decision by the Home Department, no action could be taken on the findings of CAG as well as Crime Branch till date.
The Home Department had even referred the matter to the Finance Department vide communication No. Home/39/Accts/ 2016/206 dated June 16, 2016 for conducting in a time bound manner a detailed audit of the expenditure incurred on hiring of vehicles under Security Related Expenditure by all DDOs of Police Department during 2014 elections. However, Finance Department has yet not completed the task despite being aware of the fact that findings of CAG are very serious in nature.
“The matter is being pursued in the Finance Department”, said the reply of Minister Incharge Home in reply to another question of BJP MLA.
When asked about the justification for allowing officers of Srinagar Police who were part of Rs 88 lakh fraud to enquire into the matter actually relating to their misdeeds and mal-practices, the Chief Minister avoided direct reply and simply said, “the allegations regarding misappropriation of funds would be examined on the receipt of the audit report from the Finance Department”.