Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has ordered action against three officers of the Delhi government’s revenue department for “gross misconduct” in connection with the arrangements of tents and other facilities for Kanwariyas in 2022.
The action against three officers — SDM (HQ) RR Singh, section officer Sanjay Kumar Madan and junior assistant Anurag — was necessitated as the matter was related to the allotment of tentage work worth Rs 23.40 crore for Kanwar camps in the national capital.
Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar provided a factual report indicating the officials circumvented the appropriate processes to assign the tentage work for Kanwar camps.
The action was ordered after the Lt Governor’s Secretariat received a complaint on July 19, 2022, regarding malpractice in the revenue department’s caretaking branch, alleging a scam in the allocation of the tentage work.
Upon receiving the complaint, the Lt Governor’s Secretariat asked the Chief Secretary to present a factual account of the matter. The Chief Secretary reported the findings on October 21, 2022.
The report underscored serious misconduct by the erring officials. It revealed that the contracts awarded to the bidders were altered without obtaining due approval, thereby causing a loss to the government treasury. The original deal included ordinary tents at Rs 3.45 per square foot, a rise from Rs 2.25 in 2019. However, a waterproof tent could be procured at the same rate.
Likewise, tin shade was ordered at Rs 7.90 per square foot, replacing the erstwhile pipe-structured steel hanger priced at Rs 3.90 per square foot. Furthermore, LED lights costing Rs 8 were preferred over halogen lights costing just Re 1 per unit.
The Directorate of Vigilance took note of the issue and said that the contracts were granted based on an extended order to a bidder who previously won the contract in 2019. Notably, there was no Kanwar Yatra in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The matter is now under scrutiny as the Directorate of Vigilance initiates required verifications and halts its payment process pending the submission of the vendors’ bills.
DELHI GOVERNMENT REACTS
In a statement, the AAP government said it was unaware of the case but said it was “unequivocally committed to taking the most stringent measures against those involved”.
“The Delhi government is currently unaware of any such case. However, should it be substantiated, we are unequivocally committed to taking the most stringent measures against those involved,” it said.
(with inputs from PTI)