Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) on Friday suspended three officers, including board secretary Gurinderpal Singh Bath, and sacked two others indicted in a Rs 20-crore scam.
Subdivisional officers (SDOs) Ranjit Singh (civil) and Mann Singh (electrical) are among those suspended and junior engineers (JEs) Jaspal Singh and Simranjit have lost job contracts. A fact-finding committee has indicted all five of irregularities in the construction of 454 art-and-craft rooms in nine districts. The director general of school education (DGSE) had released more than Rs 20 crore for the project.
Board chairperson Tejinder Kaur Dhaliwal issued the suspension and firing orders. Allegations suggest that payment was made to the contractor even when no construction had taken place on ground. When the task came to the education board in June 2013, Bath was then its executive engineer. Asked to react, he said: “I was on a leave of absence when the payment order was issued. I was on the project for only the initial three months in July 2013.”
He alleged that the action was “to malign my reputation for highlighting the ill practices of the board and pointing out irregularities to the government from time to time”. He said he was waiting to go through the suspension order.
As per the sources the issue pertains to construction of 454 rooms of art and craft in 9 districts for which the Director General School Education (DGSE) had released funds amounting to Rs 20.70 crores for the construction of the art and craft rooms.
As per the allegations, an amount of over Rs 20 crores was released as payment to the contractor even when no construction had taken place on ground. It may be mentioned that the construction of the rooms was entrusted to education board in June 2013 and Bath was at that time XEN with the board.
An inquiry was conducted only to find that no rooms existed on the ground even when more than Rs 20 crores have been paid.
When contacted on phone Gurinderpal Singh Bath said, “I was on leave when the order was issued. I never had the charge it was only during the initial three months of the project which was initiated in July 2013 I was associated with the project”.
“The action taking is to malign my reputation for highlighting the ill practices of the board and taking up irregularities with the government from time to time,” added Bath that the future course of action would be decided only after he goes through the order of suspension.