The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday directed the UT administrator’s adviser to look into the role of UT estate officers and assistant estate officers from 1993 till 2007 in a case, in which a godown site in Sector-26 grain market, despite having been resumed in 1993 remained occupied causing huge loss to the administration.
It was on October 28 that the Chandigarh administration, on the basis of the findings of an inquiry conducted under land acquisition collector Tilak Raj, had demoted five lower-rung officials for dereliction of duty and for not reporting about the resumed property.
Senior assistant Anil Kaushik was demoted to junior assistant, SI (enforcement) Parveen Mittal was demoted to junior assistant, junior assistant Narender Verma was demoted to clerk, junior assistant Sandeep Sharma demoted to steno typist and daftri Hukam demoted to peon.
However, the court was of the view that it was not only the responsibility of the officials at the lower level.
But it was also the duty of estate officers and assistant estate officers, who did not take any action in the case during these 20 years.
On the last date of hearing, the court had observed that though action was proposed against the lower-rung officials under the control and supervision of estate officer, but no action seems to have been examined, proposed or even suggested against the estate officer.
Thus, one can reasonably infer that an attempt is made to protect the officers.
The division bench headed by justice Hemant Gupta also ordered the UT administration to clarify whether the five officials were demoted or it was their reversion and whether this disciplinary order would have bearing for some particular period or permanently.
The property was resumed in 1993, but it was only in 2007 that the case got attention of the administration.
But till this month no action was taken by the administration against its officials.
In 2012, a petition was filed before the Punjab and Haryana high court by the illegal owner of the property, Pavittar Singh, seeking transfer of the property in his name.
But the Chandigarh administration informed the high court that as the property was resumed in 1993, it could not be transferred in the name of petitioner.