In a development that may impact the vigilance probe, crucial records of three years in the stationery scam at the UT Police headquarters “have got damaged in heavy rain”, “have been destroyed” or “are not available”.
These are the three grounds cited by the Chandigarh Police in its reply to the vigilance department expressing inability to provide the relevant evidence required in the ongoing probe. The scam pertains to alleged misappropriation of government funds to the tune of Rs 35 lakh.
The three grounds have been cited by Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) Eish Singhal in his reply to Officer on Special Duty (Vigilance) DSP Sukhraj Katewa.
The vigilance department is probing a case wherein officials posted at the police headquarters allegedly submitted fictitious bills showing purchase of stationery meant for all city police stations and misappropriated funds worth Rs 35 lakh. In June this year, the vigilance department had sought records for the year 2012-2016 from the Chandigarh Police.
The vigilance department had sought a certified copy of the list of stationery items purchased from a particular shop and bills but received a reply from the police which said, “Record upto 2012-13 has already been destroyed with the approval of competent authority. No record is available for 2013-14 and 2014-15. Bills for the period 2015-16, as available, are enclosed. As regards old contingency record on the report of caretaker (Police Headquarters building) that records stored in the basement was damaged due to heavy rain on June 15, 2016. Senior officers have been informed in this regard.”
In his reply, Singhal specified that storekeepers concerned posted at the Police Headquarters during above period have been asked to provide relevant record.
The vigilance department has also asked the police to provide the “stock register” of the items that were purchased during the period from January 2012- December 2016. However, Singhal replied to the vigilance department that “no stock register is available in the store for the period in question. Concerned store keepers who remained posted there during the above period have been asked to provide the relevant record. As soon as the same is received, information will be provided”.
OSD Katewa told Chandigarh Newsline, “We will now draw our inferences from the fact that this record stands destroyed, damaged or unavailable. We are inquiring if there is any malafide intention involved in this.”
Constable Jagjeet Singh, posted at the IT Park police station, had flagged the issue in 2016 and had stated how officials (one Junior Assistant sought VRS) at the headquarters in connivance with a senior officer at the administrative level prepared fake requisitions, notings, bills and got money transferred into the account of one Murari Enterprises in Sector 17 even when there was nothing purchased by the staff. Following his plaint, a vigilance inquiry was ordered in June this year.
“As per rules, cash bills have to be maintained for 10 years while stock register, issue register, requisitions have to be maintained for 35 years. How could they be destroyed? If there is no fair inquiry, I will move the CBI,” Constable Jagjeet Singh said.