The Punjab government has decided to conduct an inquiry against additional director Senu Duggal and senior assistant Renu Bala of its information and public relations department for the release of an advertisement to certain newspapers against the set practice.
Released in February, the advertisement was regarding bidding for the parking contract of new sabzi mandi in Kapurthala. Both officials are chargesheeted for “major punishment” and the government awaits their replies before initiating the inquiry. The government submitted this in the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday in an ongoing case challenging the PR department act. The petition seeks quashing of the contract for which the only four bidders were allegedly all business partners.
On August 13, HT highlighted that the PR department had chargesheeted Duggal for administrative lapses. “After we have the reply from both officials, we will conduct inquiry as per law,” PR department director Ashwani Kumar submitted in his reply. However, the division bench comprising acting chief justice Ashutosh Mohunta and justice HS Sidhu on ordered the state government to submit what happens to the tender about which the public is kept unaware.
The advertisement of Kapurthala district mandi officer had appeared on February 15 in The Pioneer (English), Desh Sewak (Punjabi) and Uttam Hindu (Hindi).
The PR department had received the advertisement from the Kapurthala district mandi officer for publishing in “three leading newspapers” of Hindi, Punjabi and English.
Ashwani Kumar also submitted in the high court that he had instructed the advertisement section that all matter received from the departments, boards and corporations was to be released to leading newspapers on rotation basis; and in case the content was for one or two newspapers only, it must not be published in more, but only leading newspapers.