Haryana’s Vigilance Bureau (SVB) has indicted Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Rohtak Municipal Corporation (RMC) for irregularities committed in the purchase of furniture for the corporation in 2014. Rohtak is the hometown of former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Renu Dabla, known to be a Hooda supporter, was elected Mayor of the newly constituted RMC in 2013.
Dabla said the probe was the outcome of her affiliation to the Congress. “Not only me, but Deputy Mayor and Senior Deputy Mayor are also from Congress,” she said.
The alleged irregularities in the purchase took place in 2014 when Congress was in power in the state. According to the documents accessed by The Indian Express, the firm which had charged the money in excess than the prevalent market rate had even returned Rs 1.43 lakh to the Rohtak Municipal Corporation on January 16, 2015, soon after BJP came into power in the state in October 2014.
“This (fact) exposes the irregularities in the purchase of furniture by the corporation,” said a report sent by the VB to the government. Notably, during the probe, the Vigilance had found an excess payment of only Rs 1,39,650 to purchase for the furniture while the firm returned more than it (1.43 lakh), prompting the VB to conclude that finally no financial loss was caused to the municipal body.
The Vigilance has indicted Mayor Renu Dabla, Senior Deputy Mayor Manju and Deputy Ashok Kumar Bhathi, Municipal Engineer Jagdish Chandra and Accounts Officer Vikas Kumar. All were members of a purchase committee. It has recommended departmental action Jagdish and Vikas, apart from bringing into a notice of the government the conduct of political functionaries. It has also recommended to blacklist the firm SS Steel Furniture House which was involved in the matter.
The Rohtak corporation in February 2014 had purchased furniture including chairs and almirahs worth Rs 18 lakh to open the Jan Suvidha Kendras in each of the 19 municipal wards. The Local Bodies Department in 2016 asked the Vigilance Bureau to conduct a probe into the purchase after a BJP councillor alleged irregularities in it.
The Mayor said, “The political representatives don’t have any financial powers for such purchases. The officers are responsible for implementation the decisions of the Municipal Corporation’s general house.” Hooda, who was in Rohtak on Wednesday, said,” I don’t have any objection on inquiry. But it should not be because of political vendetta.”