Massive bunglings in housing board confirmed, HC seeks status report from SVC

3-member enquiry committee of Housing and Urban Development Department has confirmed massive bunglings in the Jammu and Kashmir Housing Board. 

On this, Justice Tashi Rabistan in a significant order directed Senior AAG Seema Khajooria Shekher appearing for State Vigilance Organisation to file latest status of the inquiry into Rs 27 crore bunglings in J&K Housing Board by or before the next date of hearing i.e. July 11, 2016.

When this much publicized contempt petition was taken up for discussion, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad appearing for the petitioner drew the attention of the court of the status report filed by Alok Puri  Inspector General of Police, State  Vigilance Organisation wherein he had divulged that the matter of Rs 27 Crore bunglings being under inquiry with the government as such the complaint lodged by the petitioner was referred to the Commissioner/Secretary Housing and Urban development Department with the request to furnish a factual report along with the outcome of the inquiry in light of the allegations made in the complaint.

The IGP SVO further divulged that a reminder was also sent to the Housing department on May 19, 2016 but the factual report is awaited. Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad further submitted that today the Commissioner/Secretary H&UDD has filed a status report in PIL wherein it is divulged that on 22 June, 2016 the Inquiry Committee has finally submitted its report to the Housing and Urban Development Department (H&UDD).

Advocate Ahmad produced a copy of the said status report along with the inquiry report in the open court and sought appropriate directions to the SVO to proceed further in the matter and read the inquiry report in the open court and submitted that the allegations levelled by the petitioner has been substantiated by the three member inquiry committee constituted way back on July 14, 2015 by Bipul Pathak the then Commissioner/Secretary H&UDD.

Advocate Ahmad read para 15 of the inquiry committee report wherein it was established that the Board has executed the works beyond its jurisdiction i.e. works have been undertaken in areas/colonies which are not under its control i.e. in the colonies which have neither been developed by the Housing Board and nor transferred to the Board by the government for their upkeep/upgradation.

It was further concluded that the Board has undertaken the construction of shelters/dwelling units for weaker sections of the society without any approved schemes or approved guidelines. The list of the beneficiaries of the activity has not been approved by any competent authority and mechanism adopted for selection of beneficiaries could not be known.

The inquiry further established that the works have been undertaken without any budgetary provisions thereby depleting the financial reserves of the Board which are meant for the welfare of the employees like salaries, pensions and other benefits to the serving and retired employees of the Board.

Further funds have been released to the Engineering sections/Divisions by the Accounts Sections without ensuring that requisite codal formalities are followed by the executing agencies i.e. DGMs of the J&K Housing Board and the committee also observed that prescribed guidelines have not been exercised at any level during the execution of the works. The responsibilities/duties associated with the offices of the Managing Director, FA/CAO, DGMs, Technical Officers have not been discharged diligently.

After considering the submissions of Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad, Justice Tashi Rabistan observed that the counsel for the petitioner submits that once inquiry report has been filed by the committee in the PIL, thus SVO could not sit over the inquiry report. Therefore, the said inquiry report be treated as inquiry report in this matter as well.

Justice Tashi Rabistan after hearing both the sides and looking into the sensitivity of the issue directed senior AAG Seema Khajooria Shekher appearing for state vigilance organisation to file the latest status of the inquiry by or before the next date of hearing.

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