Fraudulent appointments, irregularities in awarding contracts
No fresh timeframe fixed for completion of vital exercise
JAMMU, June 18: All the five Fact Finding Committees constituted to look into fraudulent appointments in some departments and irregularities in awarding contracts have failed to meet the deadline fixed by the Government for the submission of reports. Moreover, no fresh timeframe has been given to these Committees for completion of exercise, which otherwise is aimed at taking punitive action against those who had committed illegalities from time to time for obvious reasons.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in the recent past Governor’s Administration received numerous complaints from different quarters about large scale irregularities committed in certain key departments during the past eight years in order to confer undue benefits upon the blue-eyed persons.
Accordingly, the Governor’s Administration felt it imperative to conduct in-depth probe into such complaints so as to bring the facts to the fore and initiate appropriate action against those who had committed illegalities as well as beneficiaries of the same.
In the light of this decision, the General Administration Department vide Government Orders No.574,575, 576, 577 and 588 dated May 11, 2019 constituted five Fact Finding Committees comprising of senior bureaucrats with the direction to pin point the illegalities and identify the officers responsible for the same. It was explicitly mentioned in these orders that reports shall be submitted by June 14, 2019.
The mandate of the Fact Finding Committee headed by Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department was to enquire into all illegal/irregular appointments in the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council and Youth Services and Sports Department from 2010 to 2018.
The second Fact Finding Committee headed by Principal Secretary to Government, Housing and Urban Development Department was supposed to look into the irregularities in awarding and implementation of dredging contracts in the Jhelum River and elsewhere by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department and by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority.
The third Fact Finding Committee headed by Principal Secretary to Government, Finance Department was asked to look into irregularities in awarding and implementation of macadamization contracts between 2010 and 2018 while as the fourth Fact Finding Committee headed by Principal Secretary to Government, Transport Department was assigned the task of examining irregularities and lack of progress in the implementation of SWAN project by the Information Technology Department.
Similarly, another Fact Finding Committee headed by Administrative Secretary of Forest, Environment and Ecology Department was directed to look into all fraudulent appointments in the Technical Education Department and Autonomous Bodies, Corporations and Organizations under the administrative control of department from 2010 to 2018.
However, the Fact Finding Committees have failed to meet the deadline fixed by the Government for the completion of inquiry, identification of officers involved in fraudulent appointments and irregularities in awarding contracts and submission of reports, reliable sources said while disclosing that these Committees are still in the process of examining the records obtained from the concerned departments and their different wings.
Keeping in view the issues involved the Fact Finding Committees should have left no stone unturned to meet the deadline for submission of reports so as to pave the way for initiation of appropriate action against all those who were involved in the plunder of the State’s exchequer, sources said.
However, sources privy to the exercise being carried out by these Fact Finding Committees said, “since record of eight years is to be minutely examined by each Fact Finding Committee, fixing of one month time-frame for completion of task was highly unjustified on the part of the General Administration Department”.
How can record of eight years be examined and facts brought to the fore in a short span of one month, sources wondered, adding “the most shocking aspect is that the General Administration Department has yet not fixed any fresh timeline for these Fact Finding Committees to accomplish the assigned task”.
Despite repeated calls on his phone to ascertain the reasons behind failure of the Fact Finding Committees to meet the deadline for submission of reports, there was no response from the Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, General Administration Department Farooq Ahmed Lone.