IAS officer in ACB net over corruption in health mission

  • Hindustan Times, HT Correspondent
  • Updated: May 18, 2016 22:39 IST
IAS officer Neeraj K Pawan came on ACB radar after suspected middleman Ajit Kumar Soni was made an accused in a case being investigated by the bureau. (HT Photo)

The Rajasthan anti-corruption bureau (ACB) raided the house and office of a senior bureaucrat on Wednesday over corruption allegations in awarding tenders in the National Health Mission (NHM).

IAS Niraj Kumar Pawan, a 2003-batch officer, is currently posted in the agriculture department as commissioner. He is a native of Jhalawar, chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s constituency.

He came under the ACB radar after a middleman Ajit Kumar Soni, who runs an event management firm, was made an accused in a case being investigated by the bureau.

The ACB action followed a complaint by a private firm on October 28 about Soni demanding bribe on Pawan’s behalf.

“Soni acted like a single window for information, education, communication activities under National Health Mission. They took 5% of the tender amount as bribe before allocating work and 12% before releasing the payment. Besides, they took Rs 5 to Rs 10 lakh if services were not up to the mark,” Inspector General of Police (IG) ACB, VK Singh said.

Three other officers in the health department are also accused in the case — additional director Anil Kumar Agarwal, chief accountant Deepa Gupta and store keeper Joji Verghese. An FIR against the five accused was filed on Tuesday.

The ACB raided 18 locations in Jaipur and one in Bharatpur. The ACB recovered $4100 and Rs 2.5 lakh cash from Pawan’s residence. Three bank lockers belonging to Soni were also searched.

Singh said over 50 liquor bottles of foreign and Indian make were seized from Pawan’s house. A separate case under the excise act was lodged with police, he added.

Singh said the accused were under surveillance for a few months and their phones were being monitored.

Singh said the ACB’s drive was against middlemen or undesired contact man such as Soni. “Touts like him are the bad fish who dirty the whole pond,” said Singh.

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