JAMMU: J&K High Court has stayed the allotment of firewood and eucalyptus logs, auctioned by the State Forest Corporation (SFC) to a timber trader reportedly close aide of Forest Minister Ch Lal Singh and restrained against lifting the allotted timber from Haria Chak Nursery.
On March 9, 2017, the SFC had allegedly carried out a fraudulent auction and allotted a huge lot of firewood and eucalyptus logs in Haria Chack, Chadwal Nursery worth Rs 2 crore for just Rs 22 lakh to a blue eyed timber trader Shiv Charan Singh Jasrotia, resident of Ghagwal, Samba, said Advocate Ankur Sharma.
“The allottee is known to be a close aide of Forest Minister Ch Lal Singh”, said Advocate Sharma while talking to STATE TIMES.
He said that the order was challenged in the High Court by six timber traders including Darshan Lal, son of Late Chajju Ram, resident of village Chakk Dhai, Tehsil Marheen, Ram Singh, son of Krishan Singh, resident of Haria Chack, Manohar Lal, son of Tej Ram, resident of Haria Chak, Sanjay Uppal, son of Bodh Raj, resident of village Banyari and Bhanu Prakash Gupta, son of Satpal Gupta, resident of Marheen, Tehsil Marheen.
The petition was filed against the State of Jammu and Kashmir through its Commissioner/Secretary, Department of Forest,Ecology and Environment, Civil Secretariat, Jammu, Suresh Gupta, Managing Director, State Forest Corporation, Gladni, Narwal, General Manager, J&K State Forest Corporation, West Circle, Jammu, and the beneficiary Shiv Charan Singh Jasrotia, timber trader.
After hearing both sides, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur stayed the sanction order of auctioned timber. According to the petition, the General Manager SFC, published an Abbreviated Auction Notice vide No. DIP/J-2955-P dated March 7, 2017 in a local newspaper on March, 8, 2017 which read as “For and 0n behalf of the Jammu and Kashmir State Forest Corporation, it is hereby notified for the information of public in general and the timber traders/extraction contractors in particular that the auction of the firewood and logs of eucalyptus available at HARIA Chak nursery on the basis of ‘As it is where it is the details of which is shown in Annexure “A” to auction notice issued vide this office NO-3551-58/GM/W/SFC/J dated-04-03-2017 shall be held through open auction on 9th of March 2017 at 11.00 AM in the office of the general manager West J&K State Forest Corporation, Bikram Chowk, Jammu. Details of the Auction notice can be had from the office of undersigned on any working day during office hours.”
“The other traders and extraction contractors could read the notice published only in the afternoon of March 9, 2017. The notice contained insufficient information with regard to the essential requirements of applying in an auction procedure. Therefore there was no occasion for them to come and participate in this process. The other timber traders have therefore become victims of Corporation’s whimsical and dishonest conduct of business”, said Advocate Ankur Sharma.
It is pertinent to mention here that even the CDR amount and the name of authority in whose name the amount is to be pledged didn’t figured anywhere in the auction notice published one day prior to the auction.
The malicious motive and corrupt intent of the SFC is exposed from the bare reading of impugned auction notice. The notice gets published on March 8, 2017.and calls upon everyone to visit office of the GM SFC for obtaining information which is crucial for applying in any auction or tender process. Surprisingly, the date of carrying out auction is settled the very next day -March 9, 2017.
This clearly reveals that SFC officers in connivance with beneficiary have hatched a criminal conspiracy causing a huge loss to the State exchequer.
This is a well-planned loot of public goods aided and abetted by blatant abuse of Public / Official position. The entire process is whimsical, bad and vitiated with arbitrariness and dishonest intent, stated the petition filed in the High Court
On March 10, 2017, the aggrieved timber traders sent a legal notice addressed to Managing Director SFC and GM SFC requesting them to cancel the sanction order issued in favour of timber traders Shiv Charan and re-notify the impugned Auction Notice. However, no one listened to their request.
The instant case is an open case of unfairness, nepotism, favoritism and arbitrariness, said Advocate Ankur Sharma, adding the timber worth Rs two crore has been fraudulently allotted for Rs 22 lakh.
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