Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board has been seeking action against Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Praveen Kumar, presently posted as director general, archives, and Haryana Civil Service (HCS) officer, Vandana Disodia, presently posted as secretary, Haryana Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (HAFED), in a scam involving sale of gold coins and pendants offered by the devotees at the temple, at a lower price than the market rate.
There was another officer allegedly involved, HS Pannu, who has passed away.
In a letter to the principal secretary, urban local bodies, Haryana, written last month, the board has sought action against them as they were found negligent in their duties as per vigilance enquiry and has also questioned the delay. According to the board, the inquiry is still open.
Only the then accountant of the board Sukhdev Kumar was chargesheeted in 2013 under rule 7 of Punishment and Appeal Rules, 1987, and further action against him is still pending.
In a meeting of the board on July 8, 2016, under chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, it was decided to form a committee to re-analyse the gold scam. After that the principal secretary has been intimated that no action was taken against Kumar, Disodia and Pannu.
The tale of gold scam
In 2003, Mata Mansa Devi Board had decided that the gold offered by the devotees would be sold in the form of gold mangalsutras and gold coins, in 4-gm and 8-gm categories.
A jewellery company from Manimajra, Zevar Zohari, supplied 367 gold mangalsutras of 8-gm, 494 mangalsutras of 4-gm, 132 coins of 8-gm and 227 gold coins of 4-gm in 2003 and 2004. The rate for sale was fixed as per the then market price of gold.
Vigilance inquiry submitted a report in 2010 that the price of gold was ₹9,200 per 10-gm in 2006, but the board sold the gold coins and mangalsutras at the old rate of ₹6,420. The board sold 2,732-gm gold, which included 257 items of 4-gm and 213 of 8-gm, and suffered a loss of ₹7.59 lakh in 2006.
In 2007, the board sold 39 items of 4-gm and 5 items of 8-gm. The items were sold at the rate of ₹6,420 per 10-gm against the prevalent market rate of ₹8,500 per 10-gm, causing a loss of ₹40,768.
The total loss was calculated at over ₹8 lakh.
During the relevant period, Praveen Kumar and HS Pannu remained chief executive officers of the board, while Disodia was secretary.
What the officials have to say?
IAS officer Praveen Kumar said, “I do not have any role in it. I am not even aware of it and I don’t have any objection to whatever the government is doing.”
Meanwhile, Disodia replied that she had already given her reply in the case to chief secretary in 2011 and the action whatsoever was to be taken at the level of the government.