Ajit Singh, incharge of the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Northern Centre here, has been penalised with reduction in salary after being indicted for financial irregularities committed during his tenure as deputy director, Northern Regional Centre (NRC), Sonepat.
Singh’s salary has been cut by Rs 2,000 per month for two years, during which he would not get any increment. It took the SAI’s vigilance cell two years and three months to complete the inquiry against the officer and indict him for diversion of funds from the Commonwealth Scheme and procurement of fabricated sports items for the NRC.
The scheme pertained to funds released for setting up infrastructure to train players for the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi.
Singh served as the NRC deputy director from 2007 to 2009. Disciplinary proceedings for major penal action were started against him vide the SAI’s memorandum dated January 22, 2010.
The order signed by SAI director general (DG) Desh Deepak Verma on April 12 reads, “I, therefore, impose a penalty of reduction by two stages from Rs 26,610 to Rs 24,640 in the pay band of Rs l5,600-39,100 + grade pay Rs 6,600 for two years with effect from the first day of the next month from the date of issue of this penalty order. During the currency of the penalty, no increment(s) will be earned, and on the expiry of this period, the reduction will not have the effect of postponing the future increment(s) of pay.”
Singh had been charged with “procuring fabricated moulded items, outdoor conditioning items, shades and stands at the NRC, Sonepat, without following the due procedure.” He was also charged with “recommending diversion of infrastructure items for the NRC, Sonepat.”
The DG’s letter further reads, “I have examined the inquiry report and the accompanying documents, as also the submission of Ajit Singh. While it is true that the records indicate that Singh acted under the directions of his superior officer (then director incharge of NRC, Sonepat, AK Sharma), yet he cannot be absolved of the charges proved against him. He has indeed been found guilty of misconduct of defaulting on his defined duties and prudence. The other proved charge of recommending diversion of funds is also too serious to be ignored.”
However, the letter is silent on the action taken or inquiry initiated against Sharma.
When contacted by HT, the SAI’s central vigilance officer at New Delhi, Alok Kumar, refused to comment on the subject and suggested that SAI secretary Gopala Krishna be contacted. However, the secretary could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.
Talking to HT, Ajit Singh said, “I was posted at a junior level. The competent authority to take various decisions was AK Sharma and other officers. I have the right to appeal against the punishment orders before the appellate authority.”
A petition filed by SAI employee and whistleblower Raj Kumar, alleging large-scale corruption in branches of the SAI across India, including the Sonepat centre, and possession of assets by its officers disproportionate to their known sources of income, is sub judice in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The high court had handed over the investigation of the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on March 15, 2011. On November 15, 2011, a CBI team had started search and seizure operations at the SAI’s Sonepat centre and sealed the records for investigation.
Kumar had also accused AK Sharma of possessing properties worth Rs 2 crore and misappropriation of funds. Sharma retired from service in 2009.
The petition is fixed for hearing in the high court next month.