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Govt officials involved in alleged diversion of Kedarnath funds may be in trouble

The suspension of two IAS officers for their alleged involvement in the NH-74 scam may bring officials of the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency, allegedly involved in embezzlement of public money allotted to rebuild structures damaged in Kedarnath, under the scanner again.

dehradun Updated: Sep 13, 2018 01:31 IST
HT Correspondent
Kedarnath,NH-74 scam,embezzlement
On June 15, the high court asked the police to register a case against the officials accused of diverting funds allotted to rebuild the damaged infrastructure around the Kedarnath shrine after the 2013 floods. (File Photo)

The suspension of two IAS officers for their alleged involvement in the NH-74 scam may bring officials of the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA), allegedly involved in embezzlement of public money allotted to rebuild structures damaged in Kedarnath, under the scanner again.

On June 15, the high court asked the police to register a case against the officials accused of diverting funds allotted to rebuild the damaged infrastructure around the Kedarnath shrine after the 2013 floods. The public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by Sushil Vasishth and the court asked police to register a case within a month. However, the police are yet to take any action.

Prahlad Meena, superintendent of police, Rudraprayag district, said: “As the headquarters of UREDA is in Patel Nagar locality of Dehradun, I have directed the Patel Nagar police for further proceedings in the case.”

However, Patel Nagar police said they were yet register a case. An officer at the Patel Nagar police station, who did not want to be named, said: “We are yet to file any case against the UREDA officials as the case is high profile. We are waiting for orders from the higher-ups.”

Additional director general of police, law & order, Ashok Kumar while speaking on the delay in registering a case in the issue, said: “It had come to our knowledge that the UREDA is planning to move the Supreme Court against the HC order. Necessary action would be taken once we get clarity.”

The petitioner in the case, Vasishth, claimed that he was contacted by the superintendent of police, Rudraprayag, about a month ago, following the high court order. “He contacted me sometime ago and after that I am not aware of the proceedings in the case. If it is found that a case has not been registered against the officers, I will bring it to the court’s notice about the contempt of court,” he said.

Vasishth raised the issue of the alleged embezzlement of public money from disaster quota by the authorities concerned in the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA), the nodal agency that is entrusted with rebuilding the damaged infrastructure around the shrine.

The petition highlighted the case of four projects around Kedarnath on which Rs 30 crore was spent. In his petition, Vasishth said that the agency had then demanded funds for the “fake” reconstruction of infrastructure, which it claimed was washed away by the floods. “But in reality, the structure was only damaged. The agency, after getting the funds, repaired the damaged infrastructure and mentioned that it had replaced them with new ones,” he said.

First Published: Sep 13, 2018 01:31 IST