Delhi lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has ordered an FIR against nine retired and two serving Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials in a nine-year-old case of financial misappropriation.
The L-G, who is the DDA chairman, has also ordered the permanent withdrawal of the nine retired officials’ pensions, among them a chief engineer, superintendent engineer, executive engineer, and other officials from the finance and accounts departments. While the department had recommended 25% of their pension, the lieutenant governor, considering the “grave misconduct and loss to the exchequer”, has also ordered to “permanently withdraw the full pension benefits” of these retired officials.
The case, reported in 2013, pertains to financial misappropriation and violation of Codal Formalities, CPWD Works Manual, and GFR regarding the up-gradation and beautification of Coronation Park at Kingsway Camp. The work was awarded to M/s Ajab Singh & Co in 2013 at a tender cost of Rs 14.24 crore. However, additional work amounting to Rs 114.83 crore was carried out at Narela and Dhirpur, without any sanctions or fresh tenders.
In a gross violation of rules, not only did the original cost of the project escalate from Rs 14.24 crore to Rs 28.36 crore, but the project deviated from the location with additional work amounting to Rs 114.83 crore without any sanctioned estimate, resulting in an overall payment of Rs 142.08 crore to the agency. It was CAG that pointed out this irregularity in its report in 2016, signaling possible collusion between the contractor and officials where laid-down procedures were violated to benefit the contractor in lieu of possible commissions.
“From the foregoing, I am of the considered view that the entire sequence of events amounts to criminal breach of trust and the angle of corruption cannot be ruled out. Hence, it is directed to register FIR in this case against all concerned, including incumbent Supervisory Officers, viz. Sh. Abhai Kumar Sinha EM, DDA and Sh. Venkatesh Mohan, EM, DDA within 15 days,” the L-G said in his order. “…..In addition, a fool proof system should be put in place for effective supervision and internal Audit mechanism, to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur in future. A report to be submitted for my perusal within 15 days.”
The officials facing action include Abhay Kumar Sinha, the then member (engineering), Venkatesh Mohan, the then member (finance), Om Prakash, CE (retd), Nahar Singh, SE (retd), JP Sharma, EE (retd), PK Chawla, deputy CAO (retd), Jasvir Singh, AAO (retd), SC Mongia, AAD (retd), SC Mittal, AE (retd), RC Jain, AE (retd), and Dilbagh Singh Bains, AE (retd).
Sources say that the execution of the additional work in question was approved by the then chief engineer (north zone) on the day of his retirement, i.e., 31.10 2014. The then member (engineering), DDA, had granted in-principle approval for carrying out additional work amounting to Rs 114. 83 crore without fresh tenders as mandated, and what is more, DDA officials from the accounts and finance department released payments by diverting funds from other heads, violating procedures.