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Subsidy to "ghost" units
CBI for action against 2 IAS men
By Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 20 The CBI has recommended departmental action for major penalty against two IAS officers of the Punjab cadre besides two officials of the Industries Department.

The CBI's recommendations have come in its final report of investigations into a case relating to the grant of subsidy to "ghost" industrial units. The CBI was directed to launch investigations by the Punjab and Haryana High Court following the publication of a report in The Tribune, "Ghost units eating up subsidy", on May 13, 1996.

After hearing the then Tribune Staff Correspondent at Bathinda, Mr Varinder Walia, among others, the court felt satisfied that prima facie there was a potential scam. It directed the CBI to investigate the case.

The two Punjab-cadre IAS officers indicted by the CBI are the then Director of Industries, Mr D.S. Kalha, and the then Additional Director of Industries, Mr Sanjay Kumar.

The CBI has also recommended departmental action for major penalty against the then Joint Directors of Industries, Mr B.K. Garg and Mr Manmohan Singh.

The agency has also recommended departmental action for minor penalty against Mr Banta Singh, the then General Manager (GM), District Industries Centre (DCI), Batala; Mr Bakhshish Singh, the then G.M., DIC, Amritsar; Mr W.C. Monga, the then GM, DIC, Malerkotla; Mr Vishav Bandhu, the then Project Manager, DIC, Muktsar; Mr J.S. Beehla, the then GM, DIC, Moga; Mr Pritam Singh, the then GM, DIC, Amritsar; Mr Kailash Chander Sharma, Block- level Extension Officer, DIC, Batala; Mr R.P. Sandhu, the then GM, DIC, Malerkotla; and Mr Harbhajan Singh, the then GM, DIC, Batala.

During investigations the CBI found while releasing subsidy worth Rs. 15 crore on February 20, 1996, the Punjab Government directed the Directorate of Industries that "incentive (subsidy) may only be disbursed to those industrial units which are functional and viable."

However, when the directorate processed the Punjab Government's letter, it did not mention the stipulation laid down by the state government. The subsidy was disbursed to several such units which were either non-functional at the time of disbursal of subsidy or the units were found to be non-viable.

The CBI also found that several units had been filing returns of nil sales tax, suggesting that the units were not functioning.

The CBI has suggested that the case of 26 defaulting industrial units should be referred to the Punjab Government for taking appropriate action.

The units indicted by the CBI are Paris Rolling Shutter Steel Industries, Amritsar; Syal Alloys Steel Pvt. Ltd., Pathankot; Vishal Veer Vikram Cement Industries, Jaito; Gautam Machine Tools, Batala; Anjali Foundry, Batala; Abhimanyu Foundry, Batala; Friends Moulty Foam Mfgs, Abalkhair village, Gurdaspur district;

Meakin Bakery Products, Amritsar; Hundal Plastic Industries, Amritsar; Vinay Knitters, Amritsar; B.J. Steel Balls, Malerkotla; Shakti Flour Mills, Theri Village, Muktsar district; Harbant Mould Packs Pvt. Ltd., Kurali; Shiva Industries, Jaito; Anju Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., Saidpur village, Dera Bassi; Perfect Formulations Pvt. Ltd., Dera Bassi;

Welworth Electric Company Pvt. Ltd., Batala; Newage Fabricators, Pathankot; Manveer Enterprises, 115, Mehta Road, Amritsar; Sona Cattle Feed Industries Pvt. Ltd., Jandiala Guru, Amritsar; Garg Plastic Industries, Dhuri; Seema Industries, Bathinda; Mahavir Strips Pvt. Ltd., Dera Bassi; B.S. Industries, Amritsar; Deepak Pipes Industries (India) Ltd., Dera Bassi; and United Industries, Sarsaini, Patiala district.

When the CBI report was taken up for consideration by the court yesterday the Bench asked CBI counsel why the agency had not sought prosecution of the officers concerned and had recommended only departmental action against them.

Counsel sought an adjournment. The case will come up for hearing in the high court on Wednesday, May 24.
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