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Graft in Roorkee civic body under Uttarakhand High Court lens

This comes barely five months ahead of the urban local body polls due in the mountain state in April next year.

dehradun Updated: Nov 24, 2017 20:38 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand High Court,Pradeep Batra,Roorkee MLA
Pradeep Batra, Roorkee MLA and former chairman of Roorkee municipal council. (HT File Photo)

The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the urban development department to act in a case of alleged irregularities reported in the Roorkee municipal council, days after it had asked the Uttarakhand government to take action in a similar case reported in the Rishikesh municipal council.

This comes barely five months ahead of the urban local body polls due in the mountain state in April next year.

Yashpal Rana, current mayor of Roorkee civic body, which has since been upgraded into a municipal corporation, had through a petition in the high court alleged that Pradeep Batra, the sitting Roorkee MLA had misused his powers as the then chairman of Roorkee municipal council. “He (Batra) allotted civic body properties arbitrarily without following the due procedure,” Rana alleged. He added that Batra had been found “guilty” of irregularities in a departmental probe in March 2015.

Disposing the petition, the high court has asked the urban development department to take due action in the matter in accordance with the probe report, within three months time.

Batra, who had joined BJP after rebelling against Congress, however, refuted the allegations saying that the case was a “politically motivated” one.

“There has been no irregularity on my end...due procedure had been followed in all transactions during my tenure (as Roorkee civic body chairman) and all proposals were brought before the civic board. Appropriate response with all the details will be presented as and when the department seeks any response on this matter from me,” Batra told HT on Friday.

Prior to this, the high court had on November 3 directed the government to take action in three months in the case of Rishikesh municipal council chairman Deep Sharma being allegedly involved in corruption including financial irregularities and misuse of his powers. Sharma was found “prime facie guilty” of irregularities in probe by the Garhwal commissioner, after which show-cause notice was issued to him under Section 48 of the Uttar Pradesh Municipalities Act (adopted by Uttarakhand) - which deals with removal of chairman of a municipal body.

Meanwhile, in another case, Mussoorie municipal council ward member Shashi Rawat, who had in July demanded probe into alleged irregularities at the council, has resigned. Rawat had raised complaint against Mussoorie municipal council Manmohan Mall, alleging use of civic funds for personal use and misuse of powers. “The district administration had promised a probe within a month, but nothing happened despite more than three months having passed by, so I’ve resigned from my membership,” Rawat said. Mall, however, refuted the allegations. “These are nothing but false charges...I’m ready to face any probe,” he said.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 20:38 IST