Thursday, May 31, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Govt protecting IAS officer
Take action, High Court tells Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Coming down heavily on the Haryana Government for “protecting” IAS officer Sunil Gulati, accused of misappropriating public funds while working as the Managing Director of Haryana Polysteel Limited, Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice N.K. Sud of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have directed the state to take action against the officers indicted in an inquiry ordered into the allegations levelled by the workers’ union.

Pronouncing the orders, the Judges also directed the state to submit a report to the court on July 27 after taking action against the indicted officers “without any loss of time”.

The Judges also held that a “studied silence” was apparently being maintained to protect the IAS officer. The Judges asserted: “On a cursory glance through this report, it is apparent that the conduct of the officer has been adversely commented upon.... It deserves notice that no action has been taken so far. Why? There is no answer”.

The Judges further asserted: “In fact, the official file indicates that in response to the queries by the Commissioner and the Secretary to Haryana Government’s Department of Industries, the office of the Chief Secretary had not even intimated as to what action had been taken. It appears a studied silence is being maintained. Why ? To protect the respondent. The answer is obvious”.

In their detailed order, the Judges added: “The workmen, who were running the factory, are out of job. The person, whose acts of omission and commission had allegedly led to the losses and the consequential closure of the unit, is still sitting smug in his chair. Why? Is there an undue effort to protect the officer? The conduct of all concerned leaves a lot to desire. We can only lament at the manner in which this case has been handled throughout”.

Giving details, the Judges observed: “We find that the government has adopted a totally lackadaisical approach to the case. Initially the cries of the workers were not heeded to. They had made various allegations against the management. No body considered the matter. They had to approach the court. It was only on receipt of the notice that the government woke up and appointed an officer to look into the matter”.

The Judges further observed: “The inquiry officer submitted his report on August 24, 1999. Despite the receipt of this report, in which the conduct of the officer had been adversely commented upon, no action was initiated”.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Gupta concluded: “We allow the writ petition and direct that a copy of the inquiry report be given to the petitioner forthwith”.

Seeking the supply of the inquiry report’s copy and action against the IAS officer, General Secretary of the Haryana Polysteel Workers Union Ishwar Singh had earlier stated that the respondent had misutilised and embezzled company funds resulting in irreparable losses.

His counsel had added that the workers had also filed another writ petition seeking a CBI probe into the allegations of “embezzlement, misuse of official power, mismanagement and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of more than Rs 29 crore by the then Managing Director, General Manager and others”.

He had further added that the Haryana Government had appointed Mr S.Y. Quereshi for holding the inquiry in which certain allegations were proved. But despite a request a copy of the report was not handed over to the petitioner nor was any action taken against the guilty.

Going into the background, he had stated that the company, established in 1973, was “doing well and making profits till 1992. Thereafter, it started running into losses” following which several complaints were filed against the Managing Director by the Union.

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