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UPSC cracks whip on 2 Punjab IAS officers
Lokpal Principal Secretary CS Srivastava let off by commission
Jangveer Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, July 11
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has recommended disciplinary action against two senior Punjab IAS officers even as it has overruled the state government to let-off a third officer.

In a letter received by the Punjab Government a week ago, the UPSC is learnt to have conveyed that action be taken against Punjab Agro Financial Corporation (PAFC) former managing director Kripa Shankar Saroj in the iron ore scam case. It has also recommended action against B Sarkar, found guilty of ignoring a registered will as the Faridkot Commissioner and reversing the decision of the lower courts.

The UPSC has, however, let off IAS officer CS Srivastava, currently Lokpal Principal Secretary, and not proposed any punishment against him. The Punjab Government had recommended that one increment of the 1979-batch officer be stopped. The Commission had earlier asked the government to take back that recommendation and has now let him off. He was accused of giving a wrongful appointment to a naib tehsildar on compassionate grounds.

This is the first time in the administrative history of the state that disciplinary action has been recommended against two senior bureaucrats, sources said. According to the UPSC communication, 1989-batch officer Sarojís pay will be reduced by one stage for a period of three years without cumulative effect. This will, however, not affect his pension. He is presently Director, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Public Administration, at Chandigarh.

In case of B Sarkar, now Secretary, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, the 1986-batch officerís pay will be reduced to a lower stage by one stage for two years with a further direction that he will not earn increments of pay during this period. The reduction will have the effect of postponing the future increments of his pay.

The UPSC has asked the state government to convey to the Union Government in case it differs with the Commissionís advice. It has also asked the government that in case it wants to proceed as per the Commissionís report, it should supply a copy of it to the employees in 15 days.

The state government had initiated inquiries against both Kripa Shankar Saroj and B Sarkar and charges against the officers were proved. Saroj was accused of venturing into iron ore export business in 2004 as managing director of Punjab Agro Financial Corporation (PAFC) without the Corporationís mandate. Funds aggregating Rs 17.10 crore were released to a private company without proper verification. It was also ascertained that funds were misutilised and Rs 13.5 crore diverted out of the cash credit limit to adjust the packing credit limit.

In case of B Shankar, the officer is accused of ignoring the will of one Uttar Singh of Jeonwala village in Faridkot and reversing the decision of the lower courts in 2004. He was also accused of dictating the order after an inordinate delay. Charges against the officer were established following an inquiry by the Financial Commissioner, Revenue. The Punjab Government had recommended major punishment in his case to the Union Government. 

In the dock

Kripa Shankar Saroj
The case: Venturing into iron ore export business as MD of Punjab Agro Financial Corporation in 2004 without mandate; Rs 17.10 crore released to a private firm without appropriate verification

The punishment: The 1989-batch officerís pay will be reduced by one stage for a period of three years without cumulative effect

B Sarkar
The case: Ignoring a registered will as Faridkot Commissioner in 2004 and reversing decisions of the lower courts

The punishment: The 1986-batch officerís pay will be reduced to a lower stage by one stage for two years with a further direction that he will not earn increments of pay during this period

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