On June 17, 2010, the Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) sought the state government's sanction to prosecute the registrar of an engineering college in a case of corruption. It's been over two years, but the sanction is still awaited, as the file has just been passed from one desk to another, from senior officials to ministers, and back.
Inderpal Singh, the then registrar of government-run Beant College of Engineering and technology at Gurdaspur, had been arrested when he was allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 90,000 on October 19, 2009, at the college from Rakesh Kumar on the promise of regularising his contractual job as a lab attendant.
It is mandatory for the vigilance department to seek sanction for prosecution of an accused as per section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.
Principal secretary, technical education, SS Channi told HT that the case file has been sent to the chairman of the board of governors (BoG) of the college about a fortnight ago. But the BoG chairman, RS Khandpur, told HT that he was yet to receive the file: "I read about the case in your newspaper. I am yet to receive the file from the college principal."
Principal Dyal Chand, who stands accused of a recruitment scandal from 2009, told HT on the phone from Gurdaspur that the file was lying with him "for some corrections dictated by the BoG chairman". He said he would get the due sanction on Monday.
Inderpal is at present posted as coordinator of a Class-12 level school run by the college management after the charge of the registrar's post was taken away from him last year.
The delay in prosecution sanction is, in fact, a long story of how the accused had been shielded in the past. Before the case was pursued for sanction in the tenure of the present technical education minister Anil Joshi, his predecessors Swarna ram and then Surjit Kumar Jyani had been blocking the file on record. HT had reported in February 25, 2011, how then minister Swarna Ram held back the file.
After Inderpal spent 57 days in jail and was then released on bail, he was shifted to the directorate of technical education at Chandigarh following the revocation of his suspension. During the stay at the headquarters of the department, Inderpal was allotted an independent office with the task of handling all the files pertaining to the degree colleges.
Later when Jyani replaced Swarna Ram as the minister, he also halted the file, putting on record the intention to review the entire case. HT had then quoted Jyani, in its report dated July 21, 2011, as saying that Inderpal was found to be a man of conduct and it was the minister's prerogative whether to give sanction or not.