Exposed by Hindustan Times for spending Rs 40 lakh on sprucing up his official residence and demanding a smartphone worth Rs 50,000 from the government exchequer, SB Deepak Kumar, chief executive officer of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), has resorted to shooting the messenger, even using the term ‘presstitute’.
In his reply to the CHB chairman that was sought after the HT exposé, Deepak — a 2005-batch IAS officer who has also served as UT deputy commissioner — has written that the reports appeared in some “yellow journals”. “Reporter who filed [these] can be termed as ‘presstitute’,” he further said. ‘Presstitute’ is a term that seeks to insult by fusing the words ‘press’ and ‘prostitute’.
Deepak’s comments come even as an inquiry conducted by the CHB secretary into the house spruce-up has already indicted him. The wastage of taxpayer’s money had been highlighted by HT on December 30 last, following which the chairman had marked the inquiry to CHB secretary Adapa Karthik. After the report was submitted at the governing body meeting of the CHB held on January 28, Deepak was given seven days to reply.
While the comments made by Deepak were acknowledged by CHB chairman Maninder Singh, he refused to share any further views on the matter with HT.
On possible action over the splurge, the chairman only said, “The issue will come up in the next board meeting and it is up to the members.”
In November last, Deepak had made a demand for a specific smartphone worth Rs 50,000 from the board. However, CHB secretary Karthik had turned it down, saying there was no policy to provide electronic gadgets to board officials. It is learnt that Deepak had already got a high-end smartphone worth about the same amount from CHB funds. Worse, even while he only held additional charge as board CEO, he got the engineering wing of the CHB to spent Rs 40 lakh on his official residence in Sector 16 showing it as a camp office. He continues to live in the same house.
It may be mentioned here that Deepak has already written to the Union home ministry seeking to be shifted out of Chandigarh. He currently also holds charge as secretary, informational technology, besides several other departments.