An internal vigilance inquiry by Haryana Vidhyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN) has unearthed an alleged racket of fraudulent payments to the tune of crores of rupees in implementation of meter pillar box scheme in Faridabad circle alone.
Following the report, the state government on Saturday suspended several officials, including a chief engineer Subhash Deswal and more than a dozen officials of Faridabad circle of Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) for their alleged roles in favouring two private contractors.
As per inquiry conducted by the director (vigilance), HVPN, MS Mann, the unholy official-contractor nexus caused huge losses to the state exchequer.
According to the report (Hindustan Times has a copy), the DHBVN had violated procedures by allotting work orders to two private companies — Ishwar Metal Industry, Jaipur and Saini Electricals at Palwal — without inviting tenders.
“My report recommends registration of criminal cases against the erring officials and the proprietors of both private firms and recovery of loss caused to the public exchequer,” said Mann.
Report hinted at involvement of high-ups of the political and bureaucratic circles.
Bills to the tune of crores of rupees were shown cleared by the DHBVN authorities whereas the inquiry revealed that the said material was not even transported out of premises of the firms given the contracts for supplying the same.
Ishwar Metal Industry and Saini Electricals were also found to be the vendors not approved for the work allotted to them. Also, these firms were given the contracts though they did not fulfil the financial eligibility criteria.
Orders worth nearly Rs. 100 crore were released directly by issuing limited tender inquiry.
According to sources, only in an emergency the suppliers are asked to supply certain material without going for open bidding.
Inquiry report said that since there was no such acute emergency situation, the DHBVN could have saved public money by opting for competitive bidding.
Mann, a director general of police rank officer, confirmed the development adding that he had recommended to look into the similar projects allotted to four firms in six other districts, including two companies indicted in the inquiry.
State power distribution companies started implementing the “innovative” scheme in June last year under which the electricity meters had to be shifted on electricity poles outsides the premises of the consumer.
It was adopted as a tool to curb cases of power theft and two villages of Jhajjar district were selected for the pilot project.
When this project was started in Faridabad in June last year, the authorities approved quotations of the Ishwar Metal Industry and Saini Electricals to supply poles, boxes, cable etc for the project.
Internal vigilance probe contradicted official record that the DHBVN officials had inspected and verified the presence of material at the suppliers’ respective warehouses.
According to the Faridabad circle’s official records, supply of material by both private firms was shown as received at DHBNV sites whereas the inquiry confirmed on the said dates, the material was not even dispatched by the firms.
Vigilance probe put the records of truck unions from the respective places to corroborate the charges of nontransportation of material which was otherwise shown as received by the DHBVN officials on the said dates.
In October, Ishwar Metal was given 20 work orders against which bills of Rs. 55.62 crore were raised.
Payment of Rs. 19.13 crore was released whereas the probe reveals the dispatch of material worth only Rs. 4.95 crore in the same month. Similarly, Saini Electricals was given seven work orders in October and it raised a bill of Rs. 16.95 crore. DHBVN paid Rs. 6.1 crore whereas the firm had sent material worth Rs. 22.87 lakh only.
In addition to the above payments released, statutory deductions of TDS and amount of bank guarantee on behalf of suppliers had been deducted.