Saturday, September 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

MLA’s kin in Rs 1-cr scam
PWD orders inquiry
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Sept 22 — The Punjab Public Works Department has ordered an inquiry into the misappropriation of about Rs 1 crore meant for the Rural Works Division, Sirhind, by an Executive Engineer related to a Shiromani Akali Dal legislator.

According to a report submitted to the Chief Engineer, Rs 93.49 lakh have been allegedly misappropriated by Executive Engineer Kultar Singh Kultar when posted as Executive Engineer, Rural Works Division, Sirhind. The money had been released by the Punjab Mandi Board to the PWD to carry out development works in Sirhind. The report has been prepared on the basis of a complaint filed by Mr H S Gill who is in the same post.

Mr Sodhi, confirming the complaint and subsequent inquiry ordered into the case, said a detailed inquiry was being conducted by the Department Additional Director, Administration, Mr Harkesh Singh Sidhu. Mr Sidhu, when contacted, said an inquiry committee had been constituted under the Superintending Engineer, Mr T.C. Bali, who would visit Sirhind and submit his report within a week.

According to the report submitted to the PWD Mr Kultar Singh Kultar, upon his transfer to Ferozepore in July took a month to give charge of his office to his successor, Mr H S Gill. The latter has complained that vital records, including cashbooks and chequebooks have not been handed over to him till date due to which works of the division are suffering.

The complaint lists serious irregularities allegedly committed by Mr Kultar Singh Kultar in connivance with other staff members of the division. It has been alleged that the main cashbook reveals a closing balance of Rs 94.98 lakh as on August 28 while the banker of the division where the money is deposited has ascertained that they have only Rs 1.48 lakh department money with them.

It says while department rules provide that not a single paise can be withdrawn from the treasury or bank without making entries for the same in the cashbook, as much as Rs 64 lakh have been withdrawn from banks contrary to the rules. Significantly, out of these as many as seven cheques have been issued under the ‘self’ title totalling Rs 20 lakh. All other cheques have been issued in the name of a particular construction company. Entries of these cheques do not exist in the cashbook.

Besides, it has been alleged that Rs 8.89 lakh and Rs 45,000 deposited by the Municipal Corporation, Amloh, and others has not been accounted for on the receipt of the main cashbook. It has been claimed that payments of Rs 18 lakh have been made to various agencies without the supporting vouchers.

According to the PWD manual, no payment of any kind can be made to contractual agencies till detailed measurements and the bill is recorded in the measurement book and a voucher based upon same is prepared and pre- audited.

The complaint also highlights that huge cash has been transferred to subdivisions from time to time without acknowledgement of the same in cashbooks as required under the rules. It has also been alleged that payments had been made by obtaining loose cheques from bankers.

Meanwhile, sources said department officers were “under pressure” from the Akali legislator related to Mr Kultar Singh Kultar. They said recovery cases were already pending against the accused.Back

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