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Bhandari, 14 others to face trial in water schemes allocation

In a significant ruling, Sikkim High Court has ordered former state Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari and 14 others to face trial in allocation of water supply schemes allegedly favouring some contractors.

india Updated: May 13, 2003 13:08 IST

In a significant ruling, Sikkim High Court has ordered former state Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari and 14 others to face trial in allocation of water supply schemes allegedly favouring some contractors.

A Division Bench of the High Court gave this ruling and directed Bhandari, former Rural Department Secretary P K Pradhan and 13 contractors to face trial of criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct before the designated CBI court in Gangtok, a CBI spokesman said here today.

Pradhan, in connivance with Bhandari, had awarded the works of rural water supply scheme in Sikkim on highly exorbitant rates ignoring the recommendations of engineers and the lowest rates deserving contractors thereby causing a loss to the state exchequer, the spokesman said.

The High Court ruling came in the wake of a petition filed by the eight accused challenging the order of the designated CBI court of framing charges againstthem.

The CBI had registered a case in August, 1984 and filed a chargesheet before the designated court in 1994.

The CBI chargesheet said during 1983 Sikkim Government had sanctioned 36 rural water supply schemes under the Minimum Needs programme involving an expenditure of Rs 1.62 crore. Works worth Rs1 lakh had to be executed through Panchayat nominees.

During investigations, irregularities were found in 12 schemes. The agency alleged that Bhandari and Pradhan along with 13 contractors entered into criminal conspiracy during 1983-84 and awarded contracts on higher rates.

First Published: May 13, 2003 12:59 IST