More than 25 officials of local municipal corporation (MC) facing vigilance and departmental inquiries continue to serve on posts involving public dealings. Interestingly, some were even arrested red-handed while indulging in wrongdoings, and continue on same seats after getting bailed out by courts.
Moreover, some of these officials are making the most of the alleged leniency shown by vigilance and local bodies departments in taking action since inquiries against them are going on for the past 12 years.
Many erring employees, include senior officials, of the MC have since retired.
Many tainted officials are posted in MC house tax wing directly dealing with public and recovery of fee from residents. And to top it, officials are continuing on same public dealing posts for years at a stretch.
All this information came to light after a local RTI activist Ravi Sharma sought reply from MC regarding criminal records of its officials.
When contacted Ludhiana MC commissioner RK Verma admitted that there were many corporation officials against whom even three to four inquiries were pending. "It has become a usual thing. It will take a lot to clean the system, but we are trying our best," he said.
Verma had recently joined the MC and taken many initiatives to clean the city. "I will look into the cases of these officials," Verma assured.
A former MC joint commissioner BK Gupta, who was jailed for three months by a local fast track court for illegal demolition of a house, joined on the same post after his release. A case was registered against him on September 23, 2005, and awarded jail term on September 5, 2006.
Gupta finally retired from Jalandhar MC and the local bodies department, which was conducting an inquiry against him, failed to give a probe report.
"Harjeet Singh, who was a tax collector when a bribery case was registered against him by the vigilance department on February 21, 2003, is now serving in house tax zone C wing of Ludhiana MC," said the RTI reply.
Another official Baljeet Singh, against whom a case was registered in 2001 for a "serious offence", is now posted in house tax zone C wing and a police inquiry is still on against him.
A case was registered against Sanjay Bikhi, Sudesh Ghai, both clerks, and Jaggannath (safai sevak) on October 8, 2003, on charge of forging documents and embezzling a part of provident fund of their colleague. All of them are now posted in the light, water rate and health wings, respectively. Again, a vigilance inquiry against them is on.
Two cases were registered against senior official Mukesh Chandra, who was assistant town planner by vigilance department on December 30, 2003, and December 8, 2006. He was later transferred to Jalandhar MC. Inquiry against him by vigilance and local bodies department is on.
As per the RTI reply, senior officials Shakti Sagar, who was municipal town planner, and draftsmen Nirmal Singh and Mohinder Pal were allegedly caught red-handed by vigilance department in January 2008. Inquiry against them is also on. The trio is now serving in drawing wings of MCs of Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Chandigarh.
Another interesting fact that came to the light was that despite remaining in jail for two years and paying Rs. 5,500 as penalty in October 2009, health worker Lal Singh is still working in the health wing of the MC. He was served a show cause notice by former MC commissioner MS Jaggi but no action was taken against him.
Another official allegedly caught red-handed by vigilance department was Ravinder Kumar, station fire officer. He is now serving with Mohali MC's fire wing. Local government and vigilance department inquiry against him is on.