Delhi LG Saxena orders action against former DDA officials
According to a senior official in LG’s office, the matter is related to the award of work for the upgradation and beautification of Coronation Park at Kingsway Camp in 2013.
Delhi lieutenant governor (LG) VK Saxena has ordered the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to get an FIR registered against 11 former DDA officials for financial misappropriation and violation of rules in a nine-year-old case. The LG has also ordered that their full pension benefits be withdrawn.
The former officers include then engineering member (in charge of all engineering projects), member finance in DDA, chief engineer, superintending engineer, executive engineers, assistant engineers and officials from the finance and accounts sections.
According to a senior official in LG’s office, the matter is related to the award of work for the upgradation and beautification of Coronation Park at Kingsway Camp in 2013. While the initial tender was for ₹14.24 crore, additional work amounting to ₹114.83 crore was carried out at Narela and Dhirpur without any sanction, he said, requesting anonymity.
The original project cost of ₹14.24 crore was hiked to ₹28.36 crore, and additional work worth ₹114.83 crore at a different location was carried out without any sanctioned estimate. This resulted in overall payment of ₹142.08 crore to contractors--way over the initial estimate--according to officials. This irregularity was pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in a report in 2016, which concluded an overall deviation of 897.67% (almost nine times) from the original work cost.
The matter was placed before the LG a month ago against just the engineers involved in the case. But the LG asked DDA officials to put on record the procedures and levels of clearances required and names of officials who were involved in the execution of this entire project.
The LG expressed “serious displeasure” and took a strict note of the manner in which the supervisory officers – member (engineering) and member (finance) failed in their responsibility to effectively supervise their subordinate officers, which resulted in the charged officers blatantly violating the provisions of CPWD Works Manual and General Financial Rules and causing avoidable loss to DDA.
“I am of the considered view that the entire sequence of events amounts to criminal breach of trust and the angle of corruption cannot be ruled out. Hence, it is directed to register FIR in this case against all concerned, including incumbent supervisory officers… within 15 days,” the LG said in his order.
The LG has also directed the DDA to put in place a mechanism to prevent such incidents. “…In addition, a foolproof system should be put in place for effective supervision and internal audit mechanism, to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur in future. A report to be submitted for my perusal within 15 days,” the order said.
The LG has ordered the DDA “permanently withdraw the full pension benefits” of the retired officials.
The DDA declined to comment on the issue.