Tainted XEN also holding SE’s chair without govt nod | punjab$patiala | Hindustan Times
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Tainted XEN also holding SE’s chair without govt nod

In blatant violation of government norms, a tainted executive engineer (XEN) of the municipal corporation, Harkiran Pal Singh, has been holding the additional charge of superintending engineer (SE), civil, for the past 10 months without the local government department’s approval

punjab Updated: Jan 06, 2016 21:42 IST
Vivek Gupta
Confirming the illegality, department’s deputy secretary Ravi Kiran told HT that the department never issued any official order pertaining to handing over the additional charge to Harkiran Pal Singh.
Confirming the illegality, department’s deputy secretary Ravi Kiran told HT that the department never issued any official order pertaining to handing over the additional charge to Harkiran Pal Singh.(HT Photo)

In blatant violation of government norms, a tainted executive engineer (XEN) of the municipal corporation, Harkiran Pal Singh, has been holding the additional charge of superintending engineer (SE), civil, for the past 10 months without the local government department’s approval.

“An additional charge of the level of SE cannot be given without written approval from the local government department secretary,” Vinod Bhalla, special secretary, local government department, said, while citing rules.

Confirming the illegality, department’s deputy secretary Ravi Kiran told HT that the department never issued any official order pertaining to handing over the additional charge to Harkiran Pal Singh.

Significantly, Singh, then a sub-divisional officer, was suspended in 2009 after being found guilty of forging the signature of the then junior engineer, JP Singh, to clear a bill for Rs 5 lakh.

However, he was reinstated within two months without a hitch, ostensibly under political patronage, and even promoted to the position of XEN in December 2013.

Later in 2014, his name cropped up in the illegal sanction to unauthorised buildings in Patiala while he held the portfolio of the municipal town planner, a charge that was taken away from him by the then MC commissioner, PS Gill.

But, despite his history of corruption, MC commissioner Indu Malhotra’s office on March 22, 2015, issued the orders of handing Singh the additional charge of SE.

His ad-hoc elevation also amounts to breach of public trust, as a 2005-order of the personnel department mandates that an additional charge can only be given to a capable official in larger public interest.

Yet, Singh continues to hold the additional responsibility of a post that is vested with the power to clear development projects up to Rs 1 crore.

Surprisingly, the local government department’s internal vigilance cell had chargesheeted Singh and others in the illegal building case in February 2015, a month before he was handed the additional charge.

Later in November, the local government department ordered an independent probe under a retired sessions judge to prove the charges against Singh and others. Singh appeared before the judge on January 4 following a summons. He is yet to be absolved from guilt and faces dismissal from service if charges are proved.

“Had verbal approval”

When contacted, MC commissioner Indu Malhotra only had to say that the orders were issued after obtaining “verbal approval” from the department secretary, Ashok Gupta, who retired on September 28 last year.

On the other hand, Gupta claimed ignorance and disconnected the call while saying that he should not troubled as he was no more serving the department.

Under scanner for years

Then a sub-divisional officer, Harkiran Pal Singh, was suspended in 2009 for forging the signature of a junior engineer to clear a bill for Rs 5 lakh.

He surprisingly obtained reinstatement within two months, and even went on to be promoted to the position of XEN in December 2013

In 2014, he was accused of having given sanction to an unauthorised buildings in Patiala while he held the portfolio of the municipal town planner. He was stripped of the charge by the then MC commissioner, PS Gill.

Was in February 2015 chargesheeted by the local government department’s internal vigilance cell in the matter and till date continues to face probe in the matter, pending dismissal from service if charges are proved.

Yet, given the additional responsibility of SE, a post that is vested with the power to clear development projects up to Rs 1 crore, in March 2015, a month after being chargesheeted.