HC seeks trial status of Handwara PHE multicrore scam

HC seeks trial status of Handwara PHE multicrore scam
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Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Monday sought status of trial at Anti-Corruption Court Baramulla against PHE officials allegedly involved in a multi-crore scam in Handwara division in 2014.
The court directed Registry to gather information regarding the case and apprise the court by next hearing.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar while hearing a PIL regarding the much publicized multi-crore scam in PHE division Handwara, in which various employees from the rank of Executive Engineer to Junior Engineer are under suspension and facing trial, sought the status and progress of trial pending before special court of anti-corruption Baramulla.
The direction was passed after Additional Advocate General (AAG), B A Dar informed the court 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. When asked about the progress of trial in the case, the state counsel could not inform the court about the same.
The court remarked that the law must take its own course and whosoever is involved in unlawful activities will be severely dealt with.
The court on August 29 had directed that in case the challan has been submitted before the court of law, then the progress and stage of the said challan be also submitted to the court along with the details of persons involved in the scam.
As per the litigation, approximately Rs 45 crore in PHE Handwara have been swindled, as admitted in its reply by the government.
The petition states that the money was meant for the scheme launched to provide potable drinking water to the people of Handwara and adjoining hilly areas but it was not shown the light of the day.
The multi-crore embezzlement was unearthed in 2014 and a PIL was filed before court seeking a probe into the scam.
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.