STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A Division Bench (DB) of the State High Court Jammu Wing comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice B.S Walia on Monday directed Commissioner / Secretary, J&K Government, Housing and Urban Development Department to shift Secretary J&K Housing Board, Ram Pal Sharma and Aftab Rashid Pandit DGM Housing Unit II (J&K Housing Board) Srinagar from their present positions till the conclusion of the regular departmental enquiry which has been initiated against them.
The Division Bench also directed Commissioner / Secretary to Government of J&K, Public Works Department to speed up the departmental enquiry against the four Executive Engineers namely Joginder Lal, the then DGM, Housing Board Jammu, Tarsem Lal, the then DGM, Housing Board Jammu, Bashir Ahmed Bhat, the then DGM, Housing Board Srinagar and G.H Khanday, the then DGM, Housing Board Srinagar who were on deputation to Housing Board from R&B Department during the execution of the works.
The Division Bench also directed Director General Accounts and Treasuries to file the status of the departmental enquiry initiated against Kulbushan Kumar, the then FA/CAO J&K Housing Board who was on deputation to Housing Board from Director General Accounts and Treasuries (Finance Department) during the time of execution of the works.
These directions were passed in the open court in the much publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL) titled Sheikh Mohd Shafi and another verses Union of India and others wherein the petitioners are seeking prosecution of the tainted officers under J&K Prevention of Corruption Act and also directions to the GAD to accord sanction for prosecution against the high ups involved in various scams.
When this PIL came up for hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocate Rahul Raina submitted that pursuant to order dated July 25, 2017, Commissioner / Secretary to Government of J&K HUDD has filed the status report into Rs 27 crore Scam in J&K Housing Board. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that in the status report it has been divulged that vide Goverment Order No. 142-HUDD of 2017 dated June 15, 2017, M. Raju Commissioner Jammu Municipal Corporation has been appointed as Enquiry Officer to hold the regular departmental enquiry against Ram Pal Sharma, the then MD and Aftab Rashid Pandit DGM J&K Housing Board and the Enquiry Officer vide his Communication No. MJ/Estt/PS/COM/47 dated July 11, 2017 has requested for extension of three months time to complete the enquiry. Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that the competent authority (Minister Incharge H&UDD) has conveyed approval for the completion of departmental enquiry within two months and the same was conveyed to M. Raju vide Order No. 101-HUD of 2017 dated August 18, 2017.
At this stage Advocate S.S. Ahmed submitted that Commissioner / Secretary to Government of J&K HUDD is shielding the Secretary and DGM J&K Housing Board as despite serious allegations of corruption / mal practices / abuse of official position, the two delinquent officers are being allowed to continue on the prime positions in the J&K Housing Board and there is no whisper in the status report regarding this when on the last date of hearing the Division Bench had specifically directed the Administrative Secretary HUDD to indicate whether he is contemplating to shift the delinquent officers in order to ensure fair and impartial enquiry.
Advocate Ahmed strenuously argued that the continuation of the aforesaid two senior officers in J&K Housing Board particularly during the continuation of departmental enquiry is against the spirit of the law.
On being questioned by the Division Bench, the Senior Additional Advocate General (Sr. AAG) S.S. Nanda appearing for Housing and Urban Development Department submitted that Ram Pal is not holding the post of Managing Director as on date. However Advocate S.S. Ahmed referred to Para 12 of the status report wherein it was stated that Ram Pal the then MD is presently working as Secretary J&K Housing Board.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed also invited the attention of the Division Bench towards the forwarding of draft charge sheets by the Housing and Urban Development Department to the Commissioner / Secretary to Government of J&K PWD (R&B) with the request to serve the chargesheet upon the four Executive Engineers vide Communication No.HUD/HB/06/2014-II dated November 12, 2016. Advocate Ahmed further pointed out that there is no headway in the departmental enquiry in the PWD (R&B) and appropriate directions are warranted for expediting the same. Advocate S.S. Ahmed also submitted that draft charge sheet was also forwarded by Housing and Urban Development Department vide communication no. HUD/LSG/ULBK/114/2016 dated November 12, 2016 to the Director General Accounts and Treasuries with the request to serve the charge sheet upon Kulbushan Kumar, then FA / CAO and also submitted that Law Department and SVO have filed the status reports as per the previous order indicating the status of the departmental enquiries. Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that directions are required to be issued to other Administrative Secretaries to file the updated status of the 147 department enquiries pending against various officers of the State Government. Division Bench headed Justice Alok Aradhe directed Commissioner / Secretary to Govt. of J&K Home Department, Commissioner / Secretary to Govt. of J&K Forest Department, Commissioner / Secretary to Govt. of J&K Co-operatives Department, Commissioner / Secretary to Govt. of J&K Health and Medical Education Department, Commissioner / Secretary to Govt. of J&K ARI 7 Trainings Department, J&K Special Tribunal and Commissioner / Secretary to Govt. of J&K Animal / Sheep Husbandry Department to file the updated status of the pending departmental enquiries within four weeks.
Sr. AAG Seema Khajooria Shekhar, Sr. AAG H.A. Siddiqui, Sr. AAG W.S. Nargal, AAG Ravinder Gupta, Deputy Advocate General Sudesh Magotra, Deputy Advocate General R.S. Jamwal, Government Advocate Sanjeev Padha and Ajaz Lone Advocate accepted the notices on behalf of the aforesaid Administrative Secretaries.
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