Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC)’s reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query by architect Sudhir Vohra has revealed that Rajan Kataria, Metro’s Chief Engineer (Design), who was slapped with a major penalty chargesheet soon after the Zamroodpur accident, has been given a cash award recently for good work.
Departmental disciplinary action is pending against Kataria, in connection with the Zamroodpur accident last year.
The July 2009 accident, in which an under-construction pier had collapsed due to poor design, had claimed six lives, apart from disrupting the schedule of Metro’s Central Secretariat-Badarpur line.
The same official was given a cash award of Rs 10,000 for “averting a major accident” at another site, as is clear from a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Office Order (no. DMRC/PERS-2A/2010) dated January 12, 2009.
This order (Hindustan Times has a copy of it) also mentions names of five other personnel in Kataria’s team, who were given similar cash awards for the same job.
It may be recalled that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Managing Director E Sreedharan had called Kataria “indispensable” to the organisation, when the former had visited the Hindustan Times office in January.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Director (Projects) Kumar Keshav agreed that the major penalty chargesheet is still pending but justified the move on part of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
“The major penalty chargesheet is directly related to the issue of the Zamroodpur accident,” he said.
“But the cash award is for another issue,” added Keshav.
“There is no written rule barring authorities from giving a cash award for good work when a major penalty chargesheet is pending against an official, in connection with some other incident,” a senior government official, on condition of anonymity, pointed out.
“However, there has been an established convention that such officers will neither be awarded nor considered for promotion unless cleared of the earlier charge,” he added.