Rs 27 crore scam in Housing Board
JAMMU, Mar 12: Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Kumar today expressed displeasure over non-filing of the Action Taken Report/status report in Rs 27 crore scam in J&K Housing Board and imposed cost of Rs 5,000 each upon the defaulting Administrative Secretaries including Financial Commissioner H&UDD, Commissioner Secretary Finance Department and Commissioner Secretary PWD (R&B).
The Division Bench vide its order dated February 22, 2018 had granted final opportunity of two weeks to Financial Commissioner (FC) H&UDD and all concerned departments for filing their status reports/Action Taken Report in respect of all the officers including Ram Pal Sharma, the then Managing Director J&K Housing Board and Aftab Rashid Pandit, the then Deputy General Manager J&K Housing Board Srinagar into Rs 27 crore scam in J&K Housing Board.
After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina, Supriya Chouhan and Suraj Singh appearing for petitioners in the much publicized PIL titled Sheikh Mohd Shafi and Anr Versus Union of India and Ors whereas Deputy AG Raman Sharma vice Advocate General for State of J&K, the Division Bench imposed cost of Rs 5,000 each upon the defaulting Administrative Secretaries including Financial Commissioner H&UDD, Commissioner Secretary Finance Department and Commissioner Secretary PWD (R&B) for not filing the requisite status reports/ATRs as directed by the Division Bench earlier on December 15, 2017 followed by last opportunity granted on February 22, 2018.
The Division Bench allowed further two weeks time to these Administrative Secretaries to comply the order dated February 22, 2018 subject of course to the payment of costs amounting to Rs 5,000.
Earlier, when the PIL highlighting rampant corruption in J&K came up for hearing, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed submitted, “Financial Commissioner Housing and Urban Development Department is shielding the tainted officers Ram Pal Sharma, the then Managing Director and Aftab Rashid Pandit, the then DGM Housing Board who stands indicted by the enquiry officer M Raju, the then Commissioner JMC”.
“Both the indicted officers are highly influential and enjoy political patronage and despite categoric directions for filing of ATR nothing concrete has been done and it shows that the State Government is not interested to proceed against the tainted influential officers”, he further submitted.
Advocate Ahmed also drew the attention of the Division Bench towards Miscellaneous Petition wherein notices were issued on February 22, 2018 to the Commissioner Secretary GAD, Principal Secretary Home and DGP J&K for filing response to the Miscellaneous Petition seeking initiation of departmental action against two IPS officers Anand Jain and Atul Goel for providing undue security cover to Kewal Sharma, former Additional PRO to then Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand.
“No response has been filed to this Miscellaneous Petition by the two Administrative Secretaries and the matter is being delayed on one pretext or the other”, the counsel for the PIL said.
The Division Bench also expressed its concern over the non-filing of the response/status report by the Commissioner Secretary General Administration Department and Principal Secretary Home Department with regard to Miscellaneous Petition seeking directions to the Government to initiate departmental proceedings against two IPS officers.