SrinagarThe Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday asked authorities to speed-up probe into alleged siphoning of Rs 40.29 crore by officials of Food Corporation of India (FCI), Department of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs and JK State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) in public distribution system of food grains in the state.
A single bench of Justice M K Hanjura directed the authorities to look into the complaint filed by a transport company M/S Haji Goods Carrier and conclude the inquiry with zeal and zest.
Vice Chairman of the JKSRTC has constituted a committee of five members to conduct enquiry into the case of mismanagement of handling and transportation of food grains which has allegedly resulted in misappropriation of funds and siphoning of food-grains worth Rs 40.29 crores.
The inquiry team include Financial Advisor and CAO (JKSRTC) as its chairman, General Manager (Load), General Manager (Administration), DAO-SRTC and Traffic Manager (City services). The panel has been asked to report along with the recommendations within seven days positively.
Meanwhile, the court observed that M/S Haji Goods Carrier has not brought it to the fore that the award of contract by the JKSRTC to M/S Ladakh Road Lines was contrary to public interest or that it was unreasonable or discriminatory except for the fact that Central Vigilance Organization (CVO) has indicted the road transport corporation and his complaint has not been proceeded.
Referring the Supreme Court ruling, the court said that the government and its undertakings originally enjoy a free hand in detailing the terms of the tender.
However, the court made it clear that it was only if they smell of arbitrariness, discrimination, mala fides or bias that the courts interfere in such actions.
The court was also informed about a report of Crime Branch in this regard, revealing that the SRTC gave contract to one M/S Ladakh Road Lines for one month in 2008 and later extended it for whole year 2008-2009 without any tendering process and without fixing commission of the SRTC.
The Crime Branch report also reveals that the Corporation extended the contract to the firm for one more year (2009-2010) without issuing tenders. The contractor was given the payment for 2009-2010 without executing the agreement, it said.
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