SRINAGAR: The J&K high court has directed government to expedite departmental enquiry against delinquent officials allegedly involved in multi-crore scam in Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department Handwara.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Bawa Singh Walia directed the Commissioner Secretary Irrigation and Flood Control (PHE) Department to file the status report within four weeks.
“Failure of the (Commissioner Secretary) to complete the enquiry and taking it to logical conclusion within the prescribed time shall entail action under law against him,” the bench said.
The departmental inquiry was ordered by the high court on 15 December 2014 on the first hearing of the PIL filed by one Javed Ahmad Zargar, seeking probe into it and bringing to book the erring officials.
The direction has subsequently been reiterated from time to time by the court and finally on 23 November last year, two weeks more were granted to the Commissioner Secretary to file the status report regarding the progress in the department enquiry as well as about the investigation carried by the Crime Branch Kashmir into the scam which was unearthed in the PHE department Handwara in 2014.
The Crime Branch had actually taken the investigation of case (FIR no. 91/2014 in police station Handwara) from police.
Additional Advocate General B A Dar submitted that Crime Branch has concluded its investigation and filed a final report before the trial court.
“It is now for the court of law to initiate proceedings and take the criminal trial to its logical conclusion,” Dar said.
In compliance of earlier directions by the court, the government has placed 16 officials from the rank of Executive Engineer to Junior Engineer under suspension after finding them prima facie involved in irregularities and embezzlement of crores of rupees under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) scheme.
Meanwhile, additional advocate general Ms. Moksha Kazmi also produced a photostat copy of a report of Director General Audit and Inspection from March 2014 till April 2016. The copy of the report, submitted by the Commissioner Secretary Finance Department, was returned by the court to the AAG after perusal.