STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: A Division Bench of J&K High Court Srinagar wing comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul while disposing of a PIL in multi-crore scam, unearthed in Jal Shakti (PHE) Department of Handwara Division in 2014, directed Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch Kashmir, to ensure completion of investigation and filing of challan before the court of law, if not already filed, within a period of three months. As per preliminary investigation, it was revealed that water schemes for Mawar, Monabal, Ramhal and Zakhsondri areas of Langate and Handwara existed only on papers while on ground level, no water-pipes were laid in aforesaid areas. The investigation revealed that crores of rupees were illegally withdrawn by officials, but were never spent on ground level.DB further directed Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Jal Shakti Department (PHE), shall take departmental proceedings to its logical conclusion by adherence to rules and regulations in vogue and pass appropriate orders.The DB further directed that Chief Engineer PHE Department shall ensure that safe drinking water is supplied to areas of PHE Division Handwara, which is not covered in terms of scheme in vogue.The instant writ petition (PIL) was filed by one Javed Ahmad Zargar, stated to be a Journalist. In the PIL, the petitioner has prayed for issuing directions to Respondent No. 7 i.e., Inspector General of Police (Crime) Srinagar to submit Status Report of the investigation in FIR No. 91/2014 registered with police station Handwara and transferring the case to Crime Branch Srinagar with a further command to Respondent No. 2 to submit status Report visa-vis Departmental enquiry against erring officials and necessary steps taken for recovery of the embezzlement amount, with a further command to provide the status of schemes and works under execution with financial implications and expenditure incurred so far as PHE Division Handwara is concerned. He also requested issuing directions to respondent No. 3 including Deputy Commissioner Kupwara to submit details of funds released to the Division on various heads. With a further command to Executive Engineer (M&P) Division Srinagar to submit details of material issued to the Division for execution of the works as also a command to Executive Engineer (Handwara) i.e., respondent No. 5 to submit the utilisation of material with procedural formalities.DB after consideration of matter and in terms of order passed on December 15, 2014, the Court while issuing notice to the other side had sought status report from the Senior Superintendent of Police Crime Branch Srinagar, about the investigation of case FIR No. 91/2014, which was earlier registered at Police Station, Handwara and thereafter transferred to Crime Branch Srinagar. The Court had also sought status report about departmental enquiry initiated against the delinquent officials.DB further observed that status report of the investigation in FIR as also status report about inquiry conducted by the department stands filed and it is seen from status report filed by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, that several persons fraudulently and dishonestly have withdrawn an amount of Rs. 20,34,634 against non-existent works in PHE Division Handwara. Some of the officers were arrested and placed under suspension. Perusal of record revealed that Finance Department vide letter dated 27th of October, 2016, has also directed Director General Audit & Inspection to conduct special audit of the PHE Division Handwara w.e.f., 2006. Status report filed by the Commissioner/Secretary to Government Irrigation and Flood Control Department, revealed that inquiry has been expedited and is in the process of conclusion.The Director, General Audit & Inspection has also submitted report to Government for taking action. The respondents are on record to guarantee supply of safe drinking water to public as per their requirement. It has been highlighted that in most of the areas, safe drinking water is supplied as per scheme of the Government of India and Government of Jammu & Kashmir.DB after going through the Status report, satisfied with investigation of the matter, inquiry conducted by the Government as also supply of safe drinking water to the public in Handwara, therefore, decided to close the PIL by reiterating directions already passed from time to time for its adherence by respondents.
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