Two IAS officers suspended in Uttarakhand in NH-74 scam
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat suspended IAS officers Pankaj Kumar Pandey and Chandresh Yadav on the basis of a report the Special Investigation Team recently submitted to the government.
The previous Congress government in Uttarakhand headed by Harish Rawat had ordered a probe into the NH-74 scam, which on Tuesday, resulted in the suspension of two IAS officers — Pankaj Kumar Pandey and Chandresh Yadav.
Present chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat suspended the two IAS officers on the basis of a report the Special Investigation Team (SIT) recently submitted to the BJP government. He had ordered an SIT probe into the Rs 500-crore NH-74 scam just days after he took over, following the BJP’s landslide win in the 2017 assembly polls.
The chief minister had suspended some seven Provincial Civil Service officials allegedly involved in the NH-74 scam about a week after he took over. Announcing his decision at a hurriedly called press conference in March 2017, he said he would not compromise on his policy of zero tolerance to corruption, be it the NH-74 scam or any other scam.
“Action will be taken against all those who are found to be involved in the NH-74 scam, however high and mighty they may be,” Rawat said then, adding the swindle involved could be around Rs 500 crore.
The previous Congress government had ordered a probe into the NH-74 scam after then Kumaon commissioner D Senthil Pandiyan blew the lid off the swindle. It was on the basis of his inquiry that the BJP government suspended seven officials who were of the rank of Provincial Civil Service and below.
This is for the first time that action has been initiated against the IAS officers. “Earlier, action was taken against some 22 officials involved in the NH-74 scam. All of them are in jail now,” state BJP media in charge, Devendra Bhasin. He said the BJP government suspended two IAS officers allegedly involved in the NH-74 scam for the first time, which “clearly validates the party’s policy of zero tolerance to corruption”.
The two officials were suspended about a fortnight after a group of senior bureaucrats sought an appointment with the CM to discuss with him the issue of the IAS officials “being hounded" by the government. But no such appointment was given to them, said an official at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). The snub was followed by the suspension of two IAS officers.
In fact, the Congress criticised the chief minister for ordering an SIT probe into the NH-74 scam. Demanding a CBI probe, the opposition party alleged that the chief minister was trying to protect certain influential people involved in the scam. The CM had strongly refuted the allegations although he wrote to the Centre requesting a green signal for a CBI probe into the NH-74 scam. The request was, however, turned down.
First Published: Sep 12, 2018 01:47:11