UPPCL fires Noida discom officials over graft charges
NOIDA: The Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) on Wednesday ordered the dismissal of an executive engineer and a cashier of Noida division of the Pashchimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (PVVNL), after an internal probe found that they had allegedly taken ₹54 lakh as bribe from a private company in 2019 for the new electricity connection, officials said.
According to the UPPCL officials, on the basis of the reports submitted by the high-level probe team of PVVNL headquarters and alibis given by the suspects, the power corporation has ordered to terminate Sanjay Sharma (executive engineer) and Mahesh Kumar (head cashier) permanently from their services.
“During the investigation, it was found that Sharma had (allegedly) taken ₹54 lakh from a private company for giving new power connection. He had kept the money with the head cashier, who mistakenly deposited that amount (which exceeded the maximum limit ( ₹40 lakh) of cash deposit in a day) in the revenue account of the discom. The irregularity was detected in the audit, and the discom officials filed an FIR against Sharma, Kumar and one Ramratan Suman (the then accountant). The probe is still going on against Suman and very soon a decision will be taken by the UPPCL chairman in his case also,” said a senior official of UPPCL from Lucknow, preferring anonymity.
The UPPCL official also said that the PVVNL office in Noida had no receipt or records to prove that the money was taken as advance for electricity connection from the company. “The suspects always asserted that the money would be adjusted in the accounts of the consumers, but they could not produce supporting documents. During the probe, a lot of contradictions were found in their statements. In the first affidavit (produced before the investigating team), they said that the money was taken from 30 consumers, while the number of consumers mentioned in the second and third affidavits was 46 and 32,” he said.
When asked, Virendra Nath Singh, chief engineer of PVVNL (Noida), said that the decision has been taken by UPPCL, the parent organisation. “I’ve got information about Kumar’s termination and he has been officially intimated about it. The other two suspects are no longer associated with the Noida zone,” he said.
Kumar Ranvijay Singh, additional deputy commissioner of police, Noida, said that a case had been registered against these three discom officials on March 9, 2020. “An FIR against the three suspects had been lodged for illegally depositing ₹54 lakh in the revenue account of the discom on October 5, 2019. The investigation is still under progress in this case,” he said.
When contacted, Mahesh Kumar said that the power corporation has taken this decision without paying proper attention to the proofs given by them and passed a lop-sided order. “I’ve not taken any bribe. I’ll go to higher authorities against this decision soon,” he said.
Despite repeated attempts, Sharma could not be contacted for a comment.