Handwara Scam: Ensure Disciplinary Action Against Erring, HC Tells PHE

Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday directed the Commissioner Secretary PHE to ensure disciplinary action was taken by the department against the delinquent officials allegedly involved in multi-crore PHE scam in Handwara.

The Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice MK Hanjura asked the commissioner secretary to ensure that disciplinary action is completed against the erring officials and the court informed about it by or before next date of hearing.

Approximately Rs 45 crores have been swindled and the fact has been admitted in its reply by the government.

Counsel for the petitioner said the money was meant for the scheme launched to provide potable drinking water to the people of Handwara and adjoining hilly areas.

Following the submissions, the court had asked the respondents to file the status report, indicating therein as to whether drinking water has been provided to the people for which the NRDWP scheme was launched or not.

During the proceedings of the matter, the court had also questioned state counsel as to whether any departmental action has been taken against the erring officials or not. The state counsel had submitted that 26 employees involved in the scam have been suspended till further orders.

The departmental inquiry was ordered by the high court on 15 December 2014 on the first hearing of the PIL filed by one Javed Ahmad Zargar, seeking probe into it and bringing to book the erring officials. The direction had subsequently reiterated from time to time by the court and finally on 23 November last year, two weeks more were granted to the Commissioner Secretary to file the status report regarding the progress in the department enquiry as well as about the investigation carried by the Crime Branch Kashmir into the scam which was unearthed in the PHE department Handwara in 2014.

The Crime Branch had actually taken the investigation of case (FIR no. 91/2014 in police station Handwara) from police. Additional Advocate General submitted that Crime Branch has concluded its investigation and filed a final report before the trial court. “It is now for the court of law to initiate proceedings and take the criminal trial to its logical conclusion,” the AAG said.

 

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