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Monday, 3 August 2020

Lokayukta demands more power to punish officials

Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2

As reports of Haryana Lokayukta Justice Nawal Kishore Agarwal (retd) against senior officers have been piling up for want of action from government departments, he has demanded amendment to the Haryana Lokayukta Act, 2002, seeking power to punish officers and to take suo motu congisance of important matters.

According to its annual report for 2018-19, 554 cases were disposed of with action-taken reports received in only 52 cases. In 20 cases, compliance reports were not sent.

In his report, Justice Agarwal has mentioned several cases, in which action against officers has not been taken. A case in point is his order dated September 5, 2018. He had ordered action against IAS officer Sudhir Rajpal, then Chief Engineer of the Gurugram local body BS Singrohra and six others for not stopping illegal construction in the city. But his order was not complied with.

In another case pertaining to the illegal appointment of a "prabandhak" in the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society (PACS), the Lokayukta had commented in its order dated December 19, 2018, that then Additional Chief Secretary (Cooperation Department) was "allowing the illegality to perpetuate".

In another order dated March 20, 2019, the Lokayukta had called for an FIR against chairperson I Hasan of Saraswati Kunj Cooperative House Building Society Limited, Gururgam, in a case of fraud. Against 1,871 plots on offer, money was accepted from 14,500 people. The Lokayukta has said in his report that his order was not complied with.

Also, nothing happened on the recommendation of a departmental action against Deputy General Manager of Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) Hamvir Singh regarding the purchase and sale of a property without permission. This order was passed on March 25, 2019.

On October 16, 2018, the Lokayukta had called for an inquiry into the embezzlement of freedom fighters' pension. Justice Nawal Kishore Agarwal had said pointed out that in spite of repeated reminders from the Chief Secretary's office for the inquiry, the office of the Gurugram DC failed to take action for six years — from 2009 to 2015. The payment of pension was stopped when the Lokayukta had issued the notice.

Justice Agarwal commented that as heads of departments caused delay in conducting inquiries on complaints or filing replies in spite of repeated reminders, the provision of contempt of court be restored in the Haryana Lokayukta Act.

He also pointed out officials of local bodies and the Town and Country Planning Department "have not been cooperating in a number of cases".

He has called for constituting an inquiry wing for investigation against public officials and attachment of proceeds of corruption.

What he wants

  • Amend the Haryana Lokayukta Act, 2002, and introduce the provision of contempt of court
  • Make officials of local bodies and Town and Country Planning Department accountable as they 'have not been cooperating'
  • Form an inquiry wing for investigation against public officials and attachment of proceeds of corruption


from The Tribune https://ift.tt/30jkvOC

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