Following the detection of irregularities by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the award of contract for construction of godowns with galvalume roofing sheets by Haryana State Warehousing Corporation (HSWC), the BJP government in Haryana will have to take a call on whether or not to make a reference to the central government for a CBI probe.
The previous Congress government had deferred the reference for a CBI probe into the allotment of Rs 18.04 crore work orders for installing galvalume roofing sheets on warehouses to an Ahmedabad based company, M/s Proflex Systems, by Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka during his tenure as HSWC managing director in 2009.
While there could not be a similarity in the CAG audit and a CBI investigation which would primarily be a broader investigation to fix criminal liability, the previous Congress government’s move to first decide and then hold back the reference for CBI probe was a surprising one.
Acting on a communication by the principal secretary, agriculture, the then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had given the nod for a CBI probe in January 2014. However, later the Congress regime decided to hold back the reference in light of a special audit by CAG sought by the state government in the same matter.
On a complaint by a Panchkula resident, the principal secretary, agriculture had in November 2013 recommended a probe by the vigilance bureau into the allotment of galvalume roofing sheet work order to Proflex Systems by Khemka during his tenure as HSWC managing director in 2009.
“The matter was examined in detail by the vigilance department and put up to the chief minister (Hooda) for seeking appropriate order whether this matter may be inquired into. The chief secretary intimated that chief minister has approved that a request may be made to central government for issuing appropriate directions to the CBI to investigate the matter,’’ said a home department noting on the issue. However, the reference for a CBI was put on hold in view of a special audit by CAG on the issue.
The matter, however, was again considered by the state government in September 2014 after the principal accountant general (audit) submitted a draft performance audit report on working of HSWC citing irregularities in the award of contract among other anomalies. “CM has ordered that the final report of CAG be awaited and if the findings of the interim report are confirmed than the action as proposed (reference for CBI probe) be carried out,’’ said the orders issued in October 16, 2014 by then principal secretary to the chief minister, SS Dhillon.
The final CAG report on public sector undertakings tabled in the state assembly on March 11 pointed irregularities in the award of contract for construction of godowns with galvalume roofing sheets as well in the enhancement of work order and deviation in the terms and conditions of initial work order awarded on February 18, 2009.
The CAG said the selection of a particular grade and brand, Dong Bu (Korea) did not flow from the terms and conditions of the notice inviting tenders (NIT) and restricted the competition as the galvalume sheet was not a proprietary item during 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.