HC directs PHE to submit disciplinary action report in multi-crore Handwara scam

HC directs PHE to submit disciplinary action report in multi-crore Handwara scam
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SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Thursday directed the Commissioner Secretary, Public Health Engineering (PHE) to ensure that a disciplinary action report is submitted before court by next hearing against the erring officials who were involved in the multi-crore scam in PHE division Handwara in 2014.
The Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice M K Hanjura passed the direction after the court was informed by petitioner counsel that there is no progress so far as investigation into the FIR is concerned and as such the department has also not informed court as to what is the progress in disciplinary action taken against the erring officials, except their suspension.
Court was further informed that the investigation carried out by the Crime Branch stands completed and a challan against the accused officials has already been produced before the competent court of law.
The court remarked that the law must take its own course and whosoever is involved in unlawful activities will be severely dealt with.
Meanwhile on the previous hearing, the Chief Engineer PHE had informed the court that there are about 106 kinds of schemes under process for 6,780 habitations, out of which 3,790 habitations are totally covered and the rest are partially covered.
The court had observed that safe drinking water was not being supplied to the public and that the Chief Engineer shall ensure the same and inform court within a period of six weeks with respect to the implementation of those schemes which are in place.
The court had also directed the Chief Engineer to form a team for inspection as to whether the safe drinking water was being supplied to the public. It had also directed him to submit the details of all these schemes and the result of water-testing analysis to the court within 20 days in the first instance.
The court was hearing a PIL with regard to the much publicised multi-crore PHE division Handwara scam, in which various employees from the ranks of Executive Engineer to Junior Engineer are under suspension and facing trial.
As per the counsel for the petitioner, approximately Rs 45 crore in PHE Handwara has been swindled and the fact has been admitted in its reply by the government.
The counsel said the money was meant for the scheme launched to provide potable drinking water to the people of Handwara and adjoining hilly areas.
The multi-crore embezzlement of the public exchequer was unearthed in the Handwara division PHE department way back in 2014 and a PIL was immediately filed before court seeking a probe into the scam and that the erring officials may be brought to book.
In compliance with the court’s earlier directions, the government has placed 16 officials from the ranks of Executive Engineer to Junior Engineer under suspension after finding them prima facie involved in the scam.