Following the detection of irregularities by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the award of contract for construction of godowns with galvalume roofing sheets by Haryana State Warehousing Corporation (HSWC), the BJP government in Haryana will have to take a call on whether or not to make a reference to the Centre for a CBI probe.
The previous Congress government had deferred the reference for a CBI probe into the allotment of `18.04 crore work orders for installing roofing sheets on warehouses to Ahmedabad based company Proflex Systems by IAS officer Ashok Khemka during his tenure as HSWC MD in 2009.
While there could not be a similarity in the CAG audit and a CBI investigation which would primarily be a broader probe to fix criminal liability, the Congress government’s move to first decide and then hold back the reference was a surprising one.
Acting on a communication by the principal secretary, agriculture, then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had given the nod for a CBI probe in January 2014. However, later the Hooda regime decided to hold back the reference in light of a special audit by CAG sought by the government in the matter.
On a complaint by a Panchkula resident, the principal secretary, agriculture had in November 2013 recommended a probe by the vigilance bureau into the allotment of work order to Proflex Systems by Khemka during his tenure as HSWC managing director in 2009.
“The matter was examined in detail by the vigilance department and put up to the chief minister (Hooda) for seeking appropriate order whether this matter may be inquired into. The chief secretary intimated that CM has approved that a request may be made to central government for issuing appropriate directions to the CBI to investigate the matter,’’ said a home department noting on the issue. However, the reference for a CBI was put on hold in view of a special audit by CAG on the issue.
The matter was again considered by the government in September 2014 after the principal accountant general (audit) submitted a draft performance audit report on HSWC working citing irregularities in the award of contract among other anomalies. “CM has ordered that the final report of CAG be awaited and if the findings of the interim report are confirmed than the action as proposed be carried out,’’ said the orders issued in October 16, 2014 by then principal secretary to the chief minister, SS Dhillon.