Regular departmental enquiry against 9 officials of FCS&CA Deptt on papers only

Misappropriation of funds by abusing official position
Vigilance FIR too fails to reach logical conclusion
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Sept 23: Shocking it may sound but it is a fact that neither FIR registered by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (formerly State Vigilance Organization) nor regular departmental enquiry ordered by the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department into misappropriation of funds has reached the logical conclusion despite lapse of considerable period of time. Due to this, all the accused officials have remained unpunished and some of them are even holding important posts at present.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in the year 2006 the State Vigilance Organization (presently Anti-Corruption Bureau) lodged FIR No.14 at Police Station Vigilance Organization Jammu against nine officials of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department after prima-facie it was established that these officials had misappropriated funds of the department by abusing their official position.
The officials booked under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Corruption Act were Ashok Kumar Pandita, the then Assistant Director Mills Jammu, Mohammad Iqbal, the then Supervisor in Shree Vaishno Flour Mills at Bari Brahamana, Bhupinder Singh, and Chander Shekhar, the then Quota Clerks in the TSO Office Jammu, Ashwani Kumar, the then Store Keeper New Store Jammu, Ashok Khajuria, the then Store Keeper Chatha Store, Rash Paul Ram, the then Store Keeper Central Store Jammu, Sat Paul Khajuria, the then Store Keeper Central Store Jammu and Ramneek Kumar, the then Class IV employee in National Flour Mill and Bhagwati Flour Mill Gangyal.
Following completion of investigation albeit after a delay of several years, the State Vigilance Organization approached the General Administration Department for sanction to prosecute these officials in the court of Special Judge Anti-Corruption Jammu. Finally, vide OM No.GAD(Vig)/17-SP/2017 dated January 29, 2018 the sanction was accorded to prosecute these officials.
However, the FIR could not reach the logical conclusion as some of the accused officials approached the High Court and obtained orders whereby further progress in the case was stayed.
In the meanwhile, the Secretary to the Government, Pandurang K Pole vide Government Order No.72-FCS&CA dated June 26, 2019 ordered regular departmental enquiry against these officials by referring the OM No.GAD(Vig)17-SP/2017 dated January 29, 2018 and appointed Pawan Sharma, Joint Director (Administration) in the Directorate of FCS&CA Jammu as Inquiry Officer to enquire into the allegations against these officials.
He was directed to submit his report with specific recommendations within fortnight positively through Director of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Jammu to the Administrative Department.
However, the Inquiry Officer expressed his inability to execute the task assigned by the Administrative Department on the ground that one of the accused official was senior to him. Accordingly, the matter was referred to the Administrative Department for further instructions.
Vide Government order dated August 28, 2019, the Secretary to Government FCS&CA assigned the enquiry to the Director of the Department at Jammu with the direction to complete the task within 15 days.
However, till date enquiry has not been completed by the new Inquiry Officer, sources disclosed, adding “keeping in view the dilly-dallying approach in conducting regular departmental enquiry the Secretary to Government FCS&CA is contemplating to issue reminder to the Director FCS&CA Jammu within next few days”.
Shockingly, when EXCELSIOR approached Director Jatinder Singh to ascertain the progress made in the regular departmental enquiry ordered in the month of June this year he expressed ignorance and said, “Pawan Sharma, Joint Director Administration is the Enquiry Officer and he should be contacted for the details”.
“It is due to the dilly-dallying approach in handling the regular departmental enquiry that accused officials have remained unpunished till date”, sources said, adding “even State Vigilance Organization has failed to get the interim orders of the High Court vacated or modified by vigorously pursuing the case”.
They asked, “what sort of deterrence the Government is going to have in the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, which otherwise is considered as one of the corruption ridden departments, with such a slack approach”, adding “the dilly-dallying approach is notwithstanding the fact that the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has a number of times laid stress on timely completion of departmental enquiries”.


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