The failure of 93 officials of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to submit their annual property returns has again brought the working of the state government under the scanner.
No annual confidential report (ACR) is complete till these returns are filed. The PPCB reported the failure in reply to a Right to Information (RTI) petition by Ludhiana activist Rohit Sabharwal, who had asked for the names and designations of the officials who had not filed these papers from January 2010 to 2013. Suggesting "corruption" as possible reason for their violating the rule, Sabharwal made a complaint to the governor to seek his intervention.
He has demanded a vigilance inquiry against the officials, besides disciplinary proceedings under service rules, strict action under law, and orders to them to file returns. The officials hold the posts of additional secretary, environment engineer, assistant environment engineer, law officer, deputy director of public relations, scientific officer, assistant scientific officer, superintendent, and scale stenographer. Of the 93, 31 were inducted in the year 2011-12.
Under rule 18 of the Punjab Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1966, Class-1 and -2 officers have to submit property returns by every December 31, declaring full particulars of movable and immovable property inherited, owned, acquired, held on lease, or mortgaged by self or spouse or any other member of the family.
In spite of repeated requests, PPCB member secretary Babu Ram was unavailable for comments.