proceedings against Amarpal and Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Kripa Shankar Saroj after finding both the officers guilty of causing undue gains to a private firm at the cost of the state exchequer.
When this scam took place in the Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation (PAFC), Amarpal, a 1993-batch PCS officer, was posted as additional managing director (AMD), while 1989-batch IAS officer Saroj was the managing director (MD). At present, Amarpal is secretary, technical education board, and also special secretary, transport, while Saroj is director of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Public Administration. Both are posted in Chandigarh.
It has now emerged that before giving the go-ahead, the CM wrote a lengthy note on October 17, 2012, in which he ripped apart the defence Amarpal had taken. "Whereas the points put forth by Amarpal, PCS, are of no avail in view of the categorical findings by the investigating officer…
It can be safely said that Amarpal as the AMD was guilty of gross negligence to say the least, in not carrying out the duties and responsibilities expected of him, and failed to act in accordance to the set procedure, thereby causing heavy financial losses to the PAFC," Badal wrote while awarding 'major penalty' under the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules 1970.
Major penalty means the government can compulsorily retire the officers, remove them from service or even dismiss them. Other options are censure, withholding of promotion or increment of pay, apart from reduction to lower scale of pay, grade or service.
After the go-ahead, the record of inquiry on both the officers was sent as per the procedure to the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) and the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to seek 'advice and recommendation' on the quantum of penalty.
The PPSC had recently sent a reference to the government seeking a summary of the inquiry report, statements of the accused as well as witnesses etc. On the other hand, the UPSC wanted to know why the government did not decide the quantum of punishment before sending the case. So on January 2, the state government sent both the cases back to the PPSC and the UPSC while appropriately dealing with the issues raised, sources said.
HT has been highlighting this matter through various reports, including 'Rs 24-cr loss, govt keeps lid on report' (July 11, 2011), 'Govt lies to duck RTI query' (July 20, 2011) and 'Kept under wraps, file resurfaces after 21 months' (July 12, 2012).
*Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation (PAFC) ventured into iron ore export to China without mandate in April 2004
*Amarpal Singh, then AMD of PAFC, signed agreement with export firm Reliance Polycret when MD Kripa Shankar Saroj was 'on leave'
*PAFC released Rs. 22 crore to the company as advance
*Firm mortgaged fake titles of properties offered as security in favour of PAFC
*Cheques for Rs. 5 crore and Rs. 9 crore from the firm issued to the PAFC dishonoured
*Firm issued two new cheques for Rs. 15 crore, which too were dishonoured
*Govt suspended IAS officer Saroj, but no action against PCS officer Amarpal; Saroj's suspension revoked after he got relief from the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)
*On recommendations of chief secretary Rakesh Singh, CM initiated proceedings for major penalty against both officers
*Now, government awaits advice of the UPSC and PPSC