Over a month has passed since Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had called for a probe into the distribution of substandard water tanks during her sangat darshan (public meet), but the investigation has hardly progressed, allegedly due to political clout of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s officer on special duty (OSD) Harendra Sra, whose role is under scanner.
This was revealed to HT by a panel member, who said, “He is a political player and I am sure that I will be replaced if our report highlights any wrongdoing. He is the yes-man of deputy chief minister and we are well aware of the impact of our report will have.”
As many as 47 water tanks were purchased at a cost of Rs 57 lakh, which were distributed to attendees of Harsimrat’s sangat darshan here in July. The water tanks which are alleged to be of low quality were purchased under his guidance. Since the three-member inquiry committee was constituted, the members have expressed their apprehension that they might be transferred if the report goes against Sra. The committee includes general manager of department of industries and commerce, executive engineers (XEN) of public health and panchayati raj.
Sra has such political clout that despite Harsimrat’s verbal orders, the committee which was asked to initiate the probe on July 22, has not even met once and two of its members even said that they have not received any formal instructions of being included in the committee. Expectedly. the deputy commissioner has not even asked about the progress of the probe.
“The deputy commissioner has asked to initiate a probe but surprisingly we are not aware as what needs to be probed,” said another member of the committee.
Interestingly, two members of this committee have their offices in Bathinda and many officials in the district administration feel that this a deliberate tactic to delay the proceedings of the meeting.
Deputy commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma said that he would conduct a meeting on Wednesday to review the progress of the inquiry.