NH-74 Scam: Govt issues show cause notice to two IAS officers
The Uttarakhand government has issued show-cause notices to two IAS officials — Pankaj Pandey and Chandresh Yadav — days after their names figured in a Special Investigation Team (SIT) report in the alleged Rs 500-crore scam pertaining to the broadening of NH-74 in Udham Singh Nagar district.Updated: Aug 04, 2018 22:10 IST
The Uttarakhand government has issued show-cause notices to two IAS officials — Pankaj Pandey and Chandresh Yadav — days after their names figured in a Special Investigation Team (SIT) report in the alleged Rs 500-crore scam pertaining to the broadening of NH-74 in Udham Singh Nagar district.
Both IAS officers had served as district magistrates of Udham Singh Nagar. “They have been issued show-cause notices on the basis of the SIT report”, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat told Hindustan Times on Saturday, a day after the notices were issued. The SIT had submitted its report on the NH-74 scam to chief secretary Utpal Kumar Singh recently.
The two IAS officials can record their versions before SIT in keeping with legal procedures. The CM is on record stating that action would be taken in the case in keeping with his government’s “stated policy of zero tolerance for corruption.”
Pandey is serving as secretary (in-charge), skill development and employment while Yadav is additional secretary, urban development. Then Kumaon commissioner D Senthil Pandian blew the lid off the NH-74 scam during the previous Congress government. Subsequently, then chief minister Harish Rawat ordered an inquiry into the scam. Meanwhile, the Congress lost the 2017 assembly election to the BJP, following which Rawat took charge in March last year.
Just a week later Pandian submitted his inquiry report to the CM. It indicted seven Provincial Civil Service (PCS) officials in the scam. The CM suspended six of these officials whereas the action was initiated against the remaining one who had retired from active service. In all, SIT has arrested some 20 officials allegedly involved in the NH-74 scam, so far. Out of these, seven are PCS officials.
The names of Pandey and Yadav figured in the SIT report only recently throwing the higher bureaucracy into a tizzy. On Friday, the two officials reportedly met the chief secretary separately to present their case. The grapevine has it that Pandey also met the CM the same day.
While he (Pandey) couldn’t be reached for his comments, Yadav refused to speak on the issue. “There is no point in discussing the issue with media nor are we permitted to do that,” Yadav said. “However, I will certainly share my version with the state government.”
The entire investigation in to the NH-74 scam was carried out by SIT’s Udham Singh Nagar Unit.
The CM had stated more than a year ago that officials were involved in changing the use of agricultural land for broadening of NH-74 and securing compensation at commercial rates. “However, in majority of the cases the compensation, instead of being disbursed among the farmers whose land was acquired, was paid to unknown persons,” Rawat had stated adding the NH-74 scam could cost the exchequer losses to the tune of Rs 300 crore. Later, after the CM transferred the case to SIT, he said the scam could be running into Rs 500 crore.
The Opposition Congress had, however, hit out at the BJP government accusing it of punishing middle and lower level officials to shield the big fish.
First Published: Aug 04, 2018 22:10 IST