The Punjab government is all set to chargesheet an IPS officer and four PCS officers (two retired) for violating various conduct rules in planning and setting up a housing colony in Amritsar and indulging in commercial activity through it.
IPS officer Parampal Singh Sidhu and PCS officers Preneet Bhardwaj and JS Grewal, along with two other PCS officers — Amarjit Pal and I Bhatti (now retired) — were office-bearers in the Sherwood Officers Society which set up a housing complex in Amritsar a few years ago.
The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Chandigarh, and Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT), New Delhi, last year had ordered recovery of Rs 21.8 crore from the society following which, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in August marked a vigilance probe into the alleged involvement of IPS and PCS officers in setting up the colony.
The VB, in its detailed report submitted to the government in January this year, has recommended that these officers be chargesheeted under various sections of the All India Service Conduct Rules and the Punjab Government Employees Conduct Rules. The officers allegedly indulged in collection of money from non-official members of the society and carried out “commercial activities” while in government service.
The VB report found that the officers also violated the approved layout plan of the colony, indulged in irregular construction and later submitted a revised layout plan for approval. The report adds that the officers further “hid” the real facts of the colony’s changed layout plan.
The VB also recommended the cancellation of the builder’s licence given to the society for setting up the colony. The VB report said the department concerned be asked to explain how the society was allowed to be registered under the Punjab Society Registration Act. The VB also said that the department of housing should take action against those officers who allowed the society to indulge in construction which violated the approved layout plan. The department of local bodies has been asked to utilise the bank guarantee that the society had given.
Lastly, the VB has also recommended a “review” of the service conduct rules which “allow’ officers to indulge in such activities. The VB’s report is now pending with the chief minister, who is likely to order further action into the recommendations.