Drive against corrupt seems to have dried up as around 50 officials of Consumers Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Department booked for embezzlement, black-marketing and misappropriation of ration of Rs. 700 lakhs have not been penalized but re-instated and in some cases, allowed to retire peacefully.
These 50 officials have serious cases of embezzlement, black-marketing and misappropriation of ration against them lodged with Crime Branch, State Vigilance Organization (SVO) and police. Yet they have been re-instated either after being given clean chit through departmental inquiries or through the express doorway of pending outcome of the FIRs lodged against them.
FIRs have failed to deter the departmental heads from re-instating the accused officials. Such is the high-handedness that all the accused in gunny bag scam who allegedly misappropriated Rs. 2.44 crore have all been re-instated. Department in reply to a cut motion of CPI (M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami has said that two assistant directors and one incharge supervisor, accused in the scam have been re-instated in view of the court orders.
Besides, the two storekeepers have withdrawn case filed by them against the department and according to CAPD; Court directed departmental authorities to consider their re-instatement and they had to act accordingly. In another scam worth Rs. 1.03 crore, wherein the department had established shortage of PDS wheat at Kashmir Pulses Roller Flour mills Pampore, incharge supervisor and storekeeper were both placed under suspension and later, while one retired, the other was re-instated.
Incharge storekeeper alongwith Tehsil Supply Officer (TSO) embezzled ration worth Rs. 60.50 lakhs. Case was registered with Crime Branch and is still under investigation. In a case of shortage at Gowran dumping centre, 18 officials were accused of being part of the scam which involved more than Rs. 42 lakhs. Of these 18, 16 have been re-instated while two have retired. Case is pending before high court.
The accused 16 officials have been re-instated subject to the outcome of enquiry/final decision of the court. Similarly, in the cases of embezzlement of foodgrains in Marwah/Warwan areas of Kishtwar district, SVO completed the investigation and furnished report to concerned authorities. Surprisingly, the accused officials who were suspended have all been re-instated by the department subject to the outcome of case FIR and court verdict.
Though government did sanction prosecution of these accused officials but all of them went to the court and now the matter is sub-Judice. Similarly, in 9 other cases of embezzlement, CAPD has followed suit and re-instated the accused officials either on the pretext of clearance granted by the departmental enquiry officer or that the case is sub-Judice. Sources said that department does not take interest in pursuing cases which are sub-Judice and instead, allow accused either to get retired or re-instated.
And talk about the two Directors of the CAPD in Kashmir and Jammu, you would get to know that both have not only ensured rehabilitation of the corrupt and nepotistic officials. “They are getting choice postings without even making any serious effort. It is not know how they are managing these postings but one is left with no option but to pointedly say that something fishy is going on. Who is behind these wrong decisions must be probed. If the Minister claims of being honest, he should set an example for the departmental officials which he is not doing,” said an officer of CAPD.