STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey on Thursday granted last and final opportunity of two weeks to Housing and Urban Development Department to file ATRs/status reports in terms of previous order dated December 15, 2017 whereby S.S. Nanda, Senior AAG representing H&UDD was directed to file the ATR with regard to enquiry completed governing all the delinquent officers/officials including Ram Paul Sharma, the then Managing Director, J&K Housing Board and Aftab Rashid Pandit the then Deputy General Manager J&K Housing Board into the infamous Rs. 27 crore scam in J&K Housing Board.
After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina, Supriya Chouhan and Suraj Singh for petitioners in the much publicised Public Interest Litigation (PIL) titled Sheikh Mohammad Shafi and another versus Union of India and others, the Division Bench expressed displeasure/anguish over the non filing of ATR by the Commissioner/Secretary to Government of J&K, Housing and Urban Development Department.
The other delinquent officials include four Executive Engineers (who were on deputation to J&K Housing Board) namely Joginder Lal then DGM Housing Board, Jammu, Tarsem Lal then DGM Housing Board Jammu, Bashir Ahmed Bhat then DGM Housing Board Srinagar, G.H. Khanday then DGM Housing Board Srinagar and Kulbushan Kumar then Financial Advisor & Chief Accounts Officer, J&K Housing Board.
Government Advocate Ahtsham Hussain Bhat caused appearance on behalf of Commissioner/Secretary Finance and undertook to file updated status report indicating the present status of enquiry against Kulbushan Kumar.
Advocate S.S Ahmed submitted that H&UDD is shielding the two highly influential officers/officials against whom the enquiry officer M. Raju Former Commissioner JMC presently Commissioner/Secretary to Government of J&K PHE has established the charges and enquiry report stands submitted before the Commissioner/Secretary H&UDD for further necessary action.
Advocate S.S Ahmed argued that on the oral directions of the then Minister for Housing, Raman Bhalla, the two delinquent officers Ram Paul Sharma then Incharge M.D. and Aftab Rashid Pandit then DGM, J&K Housing Board executed several works to the tune of Rs. 27 crore, thereby depleting the financial reserves of the J&K Housing Board.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed submitted that since both the officers are well connected in the corridors of power and for this reason, the Commissioner/Secretary to Govt. of J&K H&UDD has filed an application for extension of six weeks time for submission of ATR in terms of order dated December 15, 2017.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed submitted that today Commissioner/Secretary, PWD (R&B) has filed a compliance report through Senior AAG H.A. Siddiqui wherein it was stated that the PWD vide letter dated October 12, 2017 requested Tarsem Lal and Joginder Pal both Ex-DGMs, Housing Board, Jammu to submit their replies to the charge sheet served to them and in reply both the officers have filed their response and the same stands forwarded to the Housing and Urban Development Department vide OM No.PW (R&B) HRM/ 43/2016 dated January 19, 2018 as the enquiry is being conducted by H&UDD. Subsequently, the DB directed the registry to re-notify the instant PIL for March 12, 2018.
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