Following chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar's green signal, chief secretary, vigilance, has decided to seek explanations from Chandigarh deputy commissioner Mohammad Shayin and three other senior bureaucrats for their alleged roles in the misappropriation of funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Employee Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) in Ambala district.
Besides, former Ambala deputy commissioner, RP Bhardwaj has also been asked to furnish his reply on the vigilance bureau report against him.
This was stated by the state vigilance department in a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by PP Kapoor, a resident of Samalkha in Panipat on Monday.
The department stated that on April 3 the chief secretary was been asked to serve notices to IAS officers - Mohammad Shayin, Sameer Pal Srow (both former Ambala deputy commissioners), Renu Phulia and Sumedha Kataria (both former Ambala additional deputy commissioner).
"It has been pointed out various rules of MNREGS were violated (by the accused bureaucrats) while releasing funds to the (then) district forest officer (territory). Out of total allocation of `46.04 crore, a sum of Rs 25.13 crore was released without administrative and technical approvals," reads the 'confidential' vigilance bureau (VB) note.
The official document shared under the RTI Act said: "Director general, vigilance had enquired the case. Further examination of the matter observed that the VB has pointed out various acts of omissions and commissions by the then DCs and ADCs of Ambala."
The development is significant because the Khattar government was charged with selectively shielding the accused bureaucrats.
In a complaint to the Lokayukta, Kapoor had also alleged that while forest officials were booked immediately, VB bureau's findings against top officials was 'shelved' under the garb of further consideration.
Following an the complaint by Kapoor, Haryana Lokayukta Justice (retd) Pritam Pal had sought a report from chief secretary, DS Dhesi in the same matter.
The Lokayukta had sent a communication on February 5 to the chief secretary seeking a report on the complaint within 45 days and also sought copy of the inquiry report prepared by VB.
On the basis of an inquiry by VB, the state government had on January 27 ordered registration of a criminal case against nine officials of the forest department for allegedly siphoning funds by fabricating records and preparing fictitious data.
The VB in its inquiry report recommended that the state government might take "appropriate action" at its own level against the accused senior bureaucrats.
Subsequently a case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act against forest officials.
Vigilance probe had alleged that these officials kept on disbursing the MNREGS funds despite the fact that management information system (MIS) data was not completed, job card records were not made available online and no monthly progress report was received by them.
Chain of events
January 27: State govt registers a criminal case against nine officials of the forest department for allegedly siphoning MGNREGS funds on the basis of vigilance bureau report
January 30: One PP Kapoor files a complaint with the Lokayukta alleging that the government was shielding the accused bureaucrats as it had acted only against forest officials
February 5: Lokayukta asks the chief secretary to furnish a report on a complaint within 45 days and demands a copy of the VB report
April 3: Vigilance bureau directs chief secretary to serve notices on four serving and one retired IAS officer including Chandigarh DC Mohammad Shayin