The Punjab government has initiated a fact-finding inquiry against 1998-batch IAS officer Sumer Singh Gurjar on a complaint forwarded by Transport Minister Ajit Singh Kohar to the chief secretary.
In the complaint, serious allegations of corruption have been levelled against Gurjar — the director (Transport) who is currently on training. It added that Gurjar was seeking commission for clearing reimbursement bills of suppliers and even employees. The inquiry will be conducted by C Roul, Principal Secretary (Governance Reforms). He is expected to submit a report to the government within a month.
When contracted, Roul said he had sent a copy of the complaint to Gurjar and asked for his comments. “The next step is possible only once this comments are received. After that I will ask for the other related persons about the allegations,” he added.
The complaint, which does not have the complainant’s name, claimed that Gurjar did not clear the pending bills of companies the department was dealing with earlier. Gurjar then went ahead and promoted purchase of spare parts from local companies which provided cheap and duplicate parts.
The complaint was sent to the transport minister who forwarded it to the chief secretary in April. The chief secretary sent the complaint to the chief minister’s officer for directions after which it was sent to the Department of Personnel. No action was taken on it for over a month. Kohar sent a reminder to the chief secretary to pursue the complaint. “I have not followed up the complaint after that. But the allegations are serious and need to be probed,” said Kohar.
Though Gurjar has been maintaining that the complaint is anonymous and is of no consequence, the minister said the complaint was signed and forwarded after due consideration.
Gurjar, who is the first to make it to the IAS from the Gurjar community, is a local celebrity in the Bharatpur area of Rajasthan. He has been in news since 2008 all for the wrong reasons. In 2010, The Punjab Vigilance Bureau registered a case against him on charges of misusing his official position as Ludhiana deputy commissioner but was given a clean chit following investigations. The VB’s report was also accepted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Despite repeated attempts, Gurjar could not be contacted. However, he is reported to have explained his position verbally to officers, where he had clarified that he had shifted from a system of purchasing overpriced spare parts from a handful of national companies to a set of local manufacturers that were providing the same quality parts at much lower costs. He also claimed that he had started the system of e-auctioning of such contracts so that the system was transparent.