Ludhiana, May 28
After gathering dust in corridors of powers for more than three years, a complaint lodged by city-based RTI activist Rohit Sabharwal against four senior officials of the Municipal Corporation has now been taken up by the Vigilance Bureau (VB) of the Punjab Police to probe allegations of possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of income, approval to sub-standard works executed by contractors for financial gains as well as taking “cutback” from contractors/agencies and thereby squandering public money.
Directions were issued to local govt dept
Taking note of the complaint, Vigilance branch of the state government had issued directions on April 19, to the Local Government Department through the Additional Chief Secretary to initiate a probe and take action as per rules against the officials, if found guilty.
Sabharwal was called by a DSP of the economic offences wing (EOW), Vigilance Bureau, to the Ludhiana Range office here on May 25, for verification of his complaint and provided him an opportunity to substantiate the allegations through written or photographic evidence, if any.
In the complaint filed with the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), Additional Chief Secretary (ACS)/Director, Local Government, Punjab and Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the Local Government, Sabharwal had charged four senior MC officials in MC’s building and roads (B&R) branch – Rahul Gagneja, Parveen Singla, both Superintending Engineers, Surinder Singh, Raman Kaushal, both Executive Engineers with serious financial and other irregularities.
Taking a note of the complaint, the Vigilance branch of the state government had issued directions on April 19, 2023, to the Local Government Department through the ACS to initiate a probe and take action as per rules against the officials, if found guilty.
Earlier, the CVO of the Local Government Department had written to the MC Commissioner on December 2, 2021, for holding inquiry into the complaint and its disposal as per the protocol for such matters. As no action was taken by the MC in this regard, the office of the CVO sent three reminders (on December 31, 2021, January 27, 2022, February 20, 2023) without evoking any response from the MC.
Commenting on the matter, MC Commissioner Shena Aggarwal told The Tribune: “Inquiry should be conducted in the matter. If any discrepancies are found, necessary action should be taken as per rules.”
Copies of the complaint, along with relevant documents, were sent to all the MC officials concerned through WhatsApp on their official mobile numbers for their version on allegations but none chose to respond.
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