ACB unearths losses running into several crores in Saubhagya scheme in J&K

Submits detailed note to GAD, calls for action against officers
*Debar M/s Rodic from future consultancy, stop pending payments

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Feb 6: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has established losses running into several crores in implementation of Saubhagya (Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna) Scheme for electrification of un-electrified households in 22 districts of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir and written an ‘Alert Note’ to the Government for initiating action against the accused officers/officials.
The ACB has submitted a note to the Principal Secretary General Administration Department (GAD) giving details of the losses caused in some districts to the State exchequer in FIR Nos. 3/2020 of ACB Srinagar and FIR 4/2020 of ACB Jammu. However, in case of some districts, the investigations didn’t reveal much losses to the Government.
The Saubhagya Scheme amounting to Rs 1750 crore was formulated for electrification of 1,88,578 un-electrified households in 22 districts of undivided State of Jammu and Kashmir and investigation involved scrutiny of huge records pertaining to various districts.
In view of massive exercise involved in investigations, the ACB decided to conduct the probe district-wise.
A detailed document of the ACB, a copy of which is in possession of the Excelsior revealed that in Ganderbal district of Kashmir, a loss of Rs 1,75,41,971 has been caused to the State exchequer which could increase manifold during investigation of the cases. The losses assessed in the report are based on preliminary investigations
“The Preliminary Enquiry for Ganderbal district has revealed that initially the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for household electrification under Saubhagya Scheme was formulated for an amount of Rs 12,1708 crore. It surfaced during investigations that actually 2885 poles were erected for implementation of the scheme in Ganderbal while as the bills were processed and payments released for 4298 poles.
“The Executive Engineer EM&RE Ganderbal has illegally certified the material of bills uploaded on portal of Saubhagya up to March 2019. On this count alone, Rs 1,75,41,971 worth loss has been assessed to the State exchequer which could increase manifold during investigation of the case,” the ACB document revealed.
In Doda district also, the ACB has worked out losses to the State exchequer to the tune of Rs 1,03,49,970.
It said the EM&RE division Doda erected 13470 ST poles for execution of Saubhagya Scheme but processed bills and released payment for 14547 poles.
In Doda district, the ACB pointed out that the Executive Engineer EM&RE Doda division has illegally certified completion of works before 31st of March, 2019 within the approved DPR and certified that no material was lying unused in the field or in the store and that the bills were processed for only completed works.
On this count only, Rs 1,03,49,970 has been assessed as loss to the State exchequer which may further increase during investigations, the ACB document said.
The ACB has also castigated M/s Rodic Consultants Private Limited, New Delhi which was executing the works under Saubhagya scheme.
“It was duty of the firm to inspect work and site and then recommend bills for payment but the firm failed to adhere to set norms and instead developed close proximity with the officers/officials of Power Development Department (PDD) J&K associated with execution of Saubhagya Scheme with “ulterior motives wherein they passed/processed inflated bills, thereby causing huge loss to the State exchequer,” the ACB said in its letter to the General Administration Department.
It said M/s Rodic Consultants was duty bound to look after the scheme from the start i.e. preparation of DPRs till commissioning in all respects.
In case of districts Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban, the ACB said, the Investigating Officer has finally concluded for initiation of Regular Departmental Action against 17 named delinquent public servants.
It called for issuance of an Advisory for withholding pending payments of Rodic Consultants for not delivering services as per terms and conditions laid down. It called for debarring the company from imparting consultancy services in future power projects of Jammu and Kashmir Government as well as directions to JPDCL to get discrepancies/shortcomings rectified.
It also called for issuance of an Advisory to the Administrative Department PDD for withholding pending payments of Rodic Consultancy for not delivering services as per terms and conditions.
The ACB said, during spot inspection of executed works in Ganderbal Electric Divisions by expert teams of the ACB, it was observed that none of the representative from Rodic Pvt Ltd were presented at the sites where work was still in progress.
The ACB Srinagar said the allegations in FIR No. 3/2022 of ACB Srinagar were that officers/officials of Power Development Department had made double drawls and misappropriated more than Rs 500 crore while implementing Saubhagya Scheme.
“Regular Departmental Action may be initiated against the then Engineers of Electric Division Ganderbal who failed to execute the works strictly according to Saubhagya guidelines and for allowing execution of work with deficient specifications,” the ACB said.
The ACB has also recommended Regular Departmental Action against 11 officers/officials of Rajouri-Poonch division for violation of procedure/conditions of the Commissioner/Secretary PDD.