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DISTRIBUTION OF BICYCLES Lokayukta indicts former Gurgaon civic body chief

May 28, 2020 05:54 AM

COURTESY TOI MAY 28

DISTRIBUTION OF BICYCLES
Lokayukta indicts former Gurgaon civic body chief
Ajay.Sura@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

Finding massive irregularities in distribution of around 600 cycles purchased by Municipal Corporation Gurgaon (MCG) after spending around Rs 33 lakh in 2004, the Lokayukta Haryana has recommended “stern” departmental action against senior Haryana IAS officer and the then commissioner, MCG, Praveen Kumar and other officials.


Recommendations have also been made to recover the amount of Rs 33.71 lakh from the personal pocket of the erring officers. The cycles were allegedly distributed by Praveen Kumar through Rahgiri event.

“Organizing of such events is certainly in public interest, but it does not mean, under the garb of public interest any officer in purported exercise of his limit of Rs 50 lakhs can purchase bicycles, donate to any person, that too without maintaining any record and identity of the persons to whom the bicycles were distributed,” the Lokayukta has observed.

The Lokayukta also expressed surprise over two different stands taken by the authorities.

According to one stand, 428 bicycles were handed over to one NGO ie ‘Embarq’, whereas as per the affidavits filed during pendency of the instant complaint, their stand was that 428 bicycles were distributed among two NGOs ie ‘Embarq’ and ‘I Am Gurgaon.’ “A conjoint reading of aforesaid facts raises strong suspicion regarding the embezzlement of aforesaid fund by which 600 bicycles were purchased. Therefore, it is necessary to initiate appropriate stern departmental action against the respondent Parveen Kumar,” observed the Lokayukta while indicting the former commissioner, MCG and other officials — Pankaj and

Rajiv Kumar, the then junior engineers, Rajiv Yadav and Narender Suhag, the then assistant engineers and Raman Sharma, the then executive engineer, MC Gurgaon. The Lokayukta has recommended enquiry and stern action against these officials.

As per orders released last week, the Haryana government has been asked to submit an action taken report on the issue within three months to the Lokayukta office.

The matter had reached before the Lokayukta in the wake of a complaint filed by Aseem Takyar, a resident of Gurgaon who had received information under RTI regarding purchase of cycles and alleged embezzlement.

In 2004, MC Gurgaon had purchased 600 cycles at a cost of Rs 33.71 lakh and 172 bicycles were donated to the public at large, who participated in Rahgiri event. However, details of persons to whom the cycles were given are not available in the record and the remaining 428 bicycles were handed over to NGOs.

During hearing before the Lokayukta, IAS officer Praveen Kumar had submitted that the cycles were given to poor children who were not able to afford them. His argument was that a sympathetic view was taken for the children who in any case would be using them only for purposes that were useful ie promotion of cycling among others.

The Lokayukta, however, has held that Kumar has not produced any legal provision/ circular authorizing him to spend any public fund arbitrarily and in any manner as per his wish and surmises.

Moreover, before distributing the aforesaid bicycles under the garb of public interest no public notice has been advertised by him. Even there is no record with the MC to treat his explanation as trust worthy and bonafide, the Lokayukta held.

A 2001 batch IAS officer of Haryana, Kumar is presently posted as director-general, science & technology, Haryana

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