HC seeks status of inquiry into Handwara PHE scam

HC seeks status of inquiry into Handwara PHE scam
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SRINAGAR: The J&K high court has granted the government a week’s time to file status report about the departmental enquiry against delinquent officers and officials allegedly involved in multi-crore scam in Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department Handwara.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and D S Thakur granted the time following submissions by Additional Advocate General Muksha Kazmi that she has prepared the fresh status report which she will file in the court’s registry during the course of the week with copy in advance to the counsel for the petitioners.

The court also dispended with for the time being the directions of personal appearance to the Commissioner Secretary Irrigation and Flood Control (PHE) Department after the officer filed statement of facts pertaining to the case.

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 out 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 on previous hearing 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 had 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.