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Posted at: May 19, 2017, 1:36 AM; last updated: May 19, 2017, 1:36 AM (IST)

Files lost & found, convicted official laments lost years

Damage can’t be undone, says former Deputy Secy in Personnel Dept
Files lost & found, convicted official laments lost years
Yog Raj Sharma

Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18

The resurfacing of confidential files pertaining to departmental inquiries of Punjab’s IAS and PCS officers has created ripples in the corridors of state Secretariat.

The matter assumes significance as the then Deputy Secretary Yog Raj Sharma was convicted after he was held responsible for the missing 35 files. He was awarded seven-year imprisonment and has spent one-and-a-half years behind bars. The development has opened the wounds of the convicted officer.

Sharma said: “The incident has ruined my life. Nothing can compensate the agony and humiliation my family and I had faced due to my victimisation by the bureaucracy.”

“My appeal against the conviction is pending in court. I am seeking justice from the system that held me guilty,” he said.

Recalling the day he was arrested and sent to jail, Sharma said he could not attend the marriage of his son and his daughter had to quit her job because of the social stigma. His wife said there wasn’t a single day in the last six years when she didn’t cry.

After the files went missing in 2011, two inquiry officers — the then Special Secretary, General Administration, Bhawna Garg, and a former Punjab IAS officer JPS Puri — in their preliminary probe held Sharma guilty of keeping the sensitive files in his possession for more than a year.

During inquiry, 12 files were found, but a case was registered against Sharma. “I was not given a chance to be heard in the departmental probe. None of my subordinate was touched,” he claimed.

He was charge-sheeted two months before his retirement in April 2012. He underwent imprisonment for one-and-a-half years on being held guilty under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant) of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act in 2015.

The 35 files of the Personnel Department had gone missing from the Civil Secretariat at Sector 2, but 18 of these are found at Sector 9 Mini Secretariat, leaving officials shocked. “The Department of General Administration has marked an inquiry into the episode,” said a functionary of the department.

‘Botched’ probe

  • In March 2011, 35 files pertaining to inquiries against as many officers went missing from the Secretariat. A case was registered in March 2013
  • The matter came to light when after being appointed Chief Vigilance Officer of the Personnel Department, Yog Raj Sharma asked for a list of all PCS and IAS officers against whom departmental inquiries were pending
  • The government pointed out that 14 files, which, as per the movement register of the IAS branch office, were sent to Sharma, but were not received back by the office of senior assistant Ajay Kumar

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