Srinagar, Dec 16:Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered a case against the officers/officials of J&K Housing Board Srinagar over allegations of procurement of material on exorbitant rates and use of substandard material in construction projects.
According to a handout issued by the Bureau, ACB registered FIR 27/2020 against the officers/ officials of J&K Housing Board Srinagar “on the outcome of a JSC conducted by this Bureau into the allegations of procurement of material on exorbitant rates and use of substandard material in projects of construction of the buildings undertaken and progressed ahead by J&K Housing Board Unit 2nd, Srinagar without tendering process during the period 2015- 2017”.
During the probe, the ACB said, it has been found that these works were to be executed in two fold mechanism; labour component and material component wherein the labour component was to be executed through piecemeal workers and the material was to be produced through tendering from original manufactures. Apart from a lot of procurements done without tendering in conspiracy with portrayed piecemeal workers, made procurement of many items on exorbitant rates, it said.
“It has surfaced that at one project in Srinagar, the excavated earth to the tune of 11756 cubic metres has been shown transported to a dumping site but the dumping site has not been identified by providing any site plan etc. The dumping site is located at a far distance from the project site but the same has been shown located at minimum distance. The auction or sale of excavated material could have generated revenue for the government as such wrongful loss has been caused to the State Exchequer,” the Bureau said.
“Further the purported carriage charges of the material from excavated site to dumping site have been billed to the tune of huge amounts. The billed cost amounting on account of non-existent levelling of an unknown dumping site has been done. This has resulted in loss to State exchequer with consequent undue benefit to the public servants. The executing agency has failed to provide any contour map or cross section depicting natural surface prior to excavation to support their claim of excavating a quantity of 11756 cubic meters of earth. The approximate loss worked out at one of the sites on account of excavation of earth work is about Rs. 15 Lakh. The loss is likely to go up when the investigation of the case will move further.”
The ACB further said that the allegations of nepotism in allotting works etc have also been levelled with respect to the other projects at different places which will be probed during investigation. “These commissions and omissions on part of officers/officials of J&K Housing Board, namely Aftab Rashid Pandit, the then Deputy General Manager J&K Housing Board Unit 2nd, Srinagar, Shiekh Sajjad Bashir, the then Assistant Manager J&K Housing Board Unit 2nd, Srinagar and others constitute offences under section 5(1) (C), 5(1) (d) r/w section 5(2) J&K PC Act Samvat 2006 and section 120-B RPC. Accordingly, a case FIR No. 27/2020 was registered in Police Station ACB Srinagar on 15.12.2020,” it said.
“Subsequently search warrants were obtained from the competent court and searches were conducted at various places. During the searches, some incriminating materials/documents were seized on spot,” the ACB said. “Further investigation into the case is going on.”