Probationary IAS officer accuses the Phagwara ADC of harassment

  • Ravinder Vasudeva/Parampreet Narula, Hindustan Times, Phagwara
  • Updated: Sep 13, 2015 17:47 IST

A probationary IAS officer, who was posted as sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) here, has accused Phagwara additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Iqbal Singh Sandhu of harassment and mental torture.

In a letter to chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, Keshav Hingonia said he was subjected to "harassment, mental torture and embarrassment" by Sandhu, a senior Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officer, who is considered close to several political bigwigs of Doaba region. Hingonia relinquished charge as Phagwara SDM on Thursday following his transfer.

In the letter, a copy of which has also been marked to the Kapurthala deputy commissioner, Hingonia, on his first posting during the probation period, also accused the ADC of showing "unwarranted and utterly irresponsible" behaviour as a public servant.

He has quoted some instances when Sandhu allegedly tried to "evade responsibilities as a public servant".

"When the Phagwara municipal corporation elections were held in February 2015, Sandhu left no stone unturned to flee from responsibility of conducting a peaceful and fair election. When Paramjeet Singh (PCS), ADC Kapurthala, was deputed by Kapurthala DC to see that elections go off peacefully, I was shocked to see that Phagwara ADC was missing from the scene and kept his phone switched off all the while," said the 2012-batch IAS officer.

Hingonia said when the Pre-Medical Entrance Test (PMET) was held at Lovely Professional University (LPU) in May 2015, there was a law and order problem and protesters gathered to block the GT Road.

"I was on the spot with police force and was directed by the Kapurthala DC to speak to the Phagwara ADC and ask him to come to the spot if needed. He, however, switched off his phone to escape responsibility," Hingonia claimed.
The IAS officer charged the ADC of deliberately not attending to Union minister of state and Hoshiarpur MP Vijay Kumar Sampla during his visits to the district.

"Sandhu always switches off his phone during Sampla's visit to Phagwara. During one such visit of the minister, the Phagwara ADC asked an employee not to arrange vehicle for the minister, saying he would take care of it. He, however, did not make any arrangement and switched off his mobile phone. After finding out that no vehicle had been arranged for Sampla, he got very upset with me," he claimed.

He has also cited another incident when Sampla visited Phagwara recently. He said the ADC wrote to the Kapurthala DC seeking disciplinary action against him.

Kapurthala DC admitted that he got a "noting" from the ADC a few days back. "It is an internal matter related to the administration. Since I am not aware of the any complaint made by the IAS officer to the chief secretary, I won't comment on this," said the DC.
Sandhu, when contacted, refused to comment. "We both have served Phagwara and people are the better judge," he said. Hingonia did not comment on the issue.

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