Non-lodging of FIR in 27.60cr-scam:HC directs IGP-Vigilance to submit status-report

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Jammu: In significant order Justice Tashi Rabstan of  High Court (Jammu Wing) Monday directed Inspector General of Police, State Vigilance Organization to submit the status of the complaint filed against Raman Bhalla Former Minister for Housing, Horticulture, Culture and Youth Services and Sports, J&K Government and Ram Pal Sharma Former  I/c Managing Director J&K Housing Board presently Secretary, J&K Housing Board, Jammu.

After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina and Suraj Singh appearing for the petitioner Prof. S.K. Bhalla, Justice Tashi Rabstan issued notices in the contempt petition to Alok Puri (IPS) Inspector General of Police, State Vigilance 

Organization and Dr. Koshal Kumar Sharma (KPS) Senior Superintendent of Police, Vigilance Organization Jammu. The Court looking into the importance of the issue also directed Inspector General of Police, State Vigilance Organization to file the latest status of the complaint filed by the petitioner with the State Vigilance Organization.

When the contempt petition came up for hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed submitted that pursuant to RTI disclosure it came to fore that Former Minister for Housing Raman Bhalla in league with then I/c Managing Director J&K Housing Board Ram Pal Sharma got several works executed both in Jammu and Srinagar purely on extraneous considerations and actuated with malafide exercise of power and the then MD Housing Board Ram Pal Sharma carried out all the illegal orders/directions of the then Minister which resulted in creation of liabilities worth Rs.27.60 crore. 

Advocate Ahmed further submitted that works which were to be undertaken by PDD, PWD, Floriculture and other line Departments were got executed by the then Minister for Housing for ulterior motives merely by abusing his official position and Ram Pal Sharma the then MD Housing Board just to remain in good books of the then Minister implemented the illegal orders which resulted into creation of huge liabilities. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that the works were got executed through blue eyed contractors in derogation to the norms laid down in J&K Financial Code. The works in question were distributed to select contractors who were enjoying proximity with the Former Minister.

Advocate Ahmed further submitted that the then Minister for Housing was knowing fully well that his powers are confined to his portfolio but going beyond his powers Raman Bhalla on the pretext of redressing the grievances of public directed Ram Pal Sharma then MD JK Housing Board to execute several works meant to be executed by other Departments. The maximum works in Jammu have been executed in Gandhi Nagar Constituency just for the sake of cheap populism. The works include upgradation of civic facilities including parks, lanes, drains, electrification and construction of community halls. 

Advocate S.S. Ahmed during the course of arguments drew the attention of the Court to the complaint dated March, 8, 2016 made to the IGP Vigilance and SSP VOJ for registration of FIR against the Former Minister and then MD J&K Housing Board and further submitted that till date despite the expiry of almost two months the SVO has failed to register FIR against the former minister and his accomplice solely for the reason that the complaint is directed against the former minister of the State who enjoys clout in the corridors of power. 

Advocate Ahmed further submitted that as per the Judgment of the Supreme Court dated November, 12, 2013 in case of Lalita Kumari V/s Govt. of UP & Ors the Vigilance Organization was under an obligation to complete the preliminary enquiry within 15 days but the SVO without caring for the directions of the Apex Court has preferred to shield the high profile Former Minister and has violated the mandate of law laid down by the Supreme Court of India.

Advocate Ahmed further submitted that under Article 141 of the Constitution of India the law declared by the Apex Court is binding throughout the country but it appears that SVO has no respect for the law of the land and the petitioner under these circumstances had no option except to file the contempt petition against the senior functionaries of the SVO so that they are made accountable and dealt under law.

After considering the submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed, Justice Tashi Rabstan issued notices to IGP and Dr. Koshal Kumar Sharma SSP, Vigilance Organization Jammu. 

Justice Rabstan looking into the importance of the issue also directed IGP to file the latest status of the complaint filed by the petitioner. The Court further directed the Registry to list this contempt petition immediately after the service is complete.  (CNS)

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