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Patil recommends action against UT Finance Secy
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Chandigarh Administrator Shivraj Patil has recommended immediate and strict action against UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar.

Patil, who is also the Governor of Punjab, is believed to have sent a strongly worded note to the Ministry of Home Affairs recommending action against Sanjay Kumar, a 1987 batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre who is on deputation to the Chandigarh Administration. Sanjay Kumar has proceeded on long leave and the work he used to handle has been divided among other officials.

Patil has reportedly said that action against Sanjay Kumar could be under Article 311 of the Constitution, which entails dismissal from service or reduction in rank as the maximum punishment. In this case, however, the action will be taken by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which is headed by the Prime Minister. His parent cadre has been informed about the move. However, being posted in Chandigarh, he was on deputation to the Central Government, hence the MHA was in the picture.

When contacted, Sanjay Kumar refused to comment on the recommendation of action against him by the UT Administrator.

The officer is under a cloud for two of his acts done while being the Finance Secretary. Firstly, the MHA is livid with him and the Chandigarh Administration’s Finance Department for unauthorised retention of a sum of Rs 621 crore that was to be deposited in the consolidated fund of India.

The funds were received by the Chandigarh Housing Board on behalf of the UT Administration as part of its share in the construction of 1,314 flats near the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park, known as IT Habitat, by realtor Parsavnath in collaboration with the UT Administration. Instead of depositing the money with the Government of India, the Finance Department spent more than half of the amount (around Rs 360 crore) on other projects while the MHA was not even aware of that.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had recently issued a notice asking him to explain, within a fortnight, under which provisions the “Pride Asia project funds” amounting to Rs 621 crore were retained by the UT Administration, bypassing the normal budgetary provisions.

The notice contained a warning that if the UT Finance Secretary failed to respond within the stipulated period, it would be presumed that he had nothing to say on the matter and action as per the rules would be taken against him.

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), which was made the nodal agency for signing the agreement in 2005 between realtor Prasavnath and the UT Administration, was directed by the Finance Department to retain the funds.

An objection to this was first raised in the audit report prepared by former IAS officer Arun Ramanathan. He termed the retention of funds as “a blunder”. Chandigarh, being a UT, gets its budget from the MHA and all accruals go back to the Government of India.

It was only recently that the UT Administration, under fire from the MHA, deposited a sum of Rs 278 crore in the consolidated fund.

The MHA has taken a serious view of the matter and put Sanjay Kumar on notice.

The second act that has piqued the Administrator is the alleged criminal conspiracy and forgery of orders of the then UT Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd), for procuring a lifetime membership to upper-crust CGA (Chandigarh Golf Association) located near Sukhna Lake.

Sanjay had allegedly tampered with the orders of former UT Administrator SF Rodrigues in connection with the extension of lease deed of the Chandigarh Golf Association (CGA). According to sources, Sanjay Kumar, in a bid to secure life-term membership of the CGA for himself and Adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra, forged certain official documents.

The current case against him dates back to last year, when Sanjay Kumar, who was exercising powers of the Chief Administrator, got an additional clause added to the CGA’s lease deed for making Mehra and himself life members of the CGA even after their repatriation/retirement. The said clause was allegedly added by Sanjay Kumar without seeking Rodrigues’ approval.

The lid was blown off the case when a senior functionary of the CGA went to Mehra for handing over the life membership card earlier this month. Mehra reportedly objected to the membership, as he had never applied for the same.

In the meantime, the administration sought Finance Secretary’s explanation to which he claimed that he had sought Rodrigues’s approval for amending the CGA lease deed.

However, the matter went to the Legal Remembrancer, who reportedly ruled that the papers approved by Rodrigues and the amended lease were different.





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