The welloiled multi-crore scam in the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) was allegedly facilitated by an influential politician-bureaucrat lobby.
The nexus not only allowed the wrongdoings to go unnoticed but made all efforts to scuttle the probe that finally indicted several DHBVN officials and two private firms, which were allegedly favoured by the corrupt officials.
In its Monday edition, HT had reported findings of an internal vigilance inquiry by Haryana Vidhyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN) that had exposed the racket of fraudulent payments worth of crores of rupees in the implementation of meter pillar box scheme in Faridabad circle.
A total of 53 officials of DHBVN’s Faridabad circle up to the rank of chief engineer have been placed under suspension on the basis on the internal probe.
The inquiry report (a copy of which is with HT) clearly states that the panel looking into the matter, was “pressurised to favour the accused”. “There was persistent pressure to take care of the interest of the proprietors/partners of Ishwar Metal Industry, Jaipur and Saini Electricals and officials whose role is under scrutiny,” reads the inquiry report submitted by director (vigilance), HVPN, MS Mann.
The inquiry is based on the documentary evidence attached with the report.
Mann, a director general of police rank officer, refused to divulge names who allegedly pressured him to clear names of certain accused. “It is not an appropriate time to comment on the issue,” Mann said on Monday.
However, the government sources said that a top ranking bureaucrat and a political appointee in the
Bhupinder Singh Hooda government had tried to influence the probe.
One of the accused is related to a top Congress leader in the state government.
According to a letter issued by the chief secretary on May 20, the HVPN vigilance was asked to stop its investigation. The letter (a copy in possession of HT) claims prior approval of the CM.
But by the time the order reached the HVPN vigilance department, the inquiry report had been submitted on May 21.
Pointing fingers at the involvement of higher ups in the state government, the inquiry report said that all wrongdoings were detected and reported in two internal non-vigilance department reports, but no action was initiated.
“The accused officials continue to hold their respective offices despite being held guilty of favouring the firms in different manner,” said the report.
It was found that for the inspection of material worth crores of rupees, junior officials were appointed for the job. But the report found several such inspections as a sham as the probe found that material shown checked at the warehouses of the suppliers were never accessed by the officials concerned.
“There was no transparency and the procedures were ignored to commit the fraud. Role of finance department is also needed to be probed as in one case an amount of Rs. 19 crore was released within a single day on November 5, last year,” reads the report.