Haryana government has effected recovery of Rs 8.48 lakh from five Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) officers, including a Haryana Civil Service officer, on account of causing loss to the state exchequer due to procedural red-tape in challenging the land compensation order of Kaithal district court before the High Court after two-and-half years’ delay.
These include Haryana Civil Services officer Pawan Kumar Sharma, suspended District Revenue Officer MS Sangwan, retired Naib Tehsildar Dhoop Singh, retired Kanungo Braham Pal and Patwari Karambir.
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An enquiry has found these officers responsible for an inordinate delay in filing appeal before the Punjab and Haryana High Court after 939 days against the Kaithal district court’s judgment in a land acquisition case of 2005. This has forced the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 300 per square yard to land owners instead of Rs 280 causing a total loss of Rs 8.48 lakh.
The High Court, while refusing to condone such a long delay in filing appeal, dismissed the appeal and reprimanded Haryana for not being vigilant enough to pursue the cases resulting in loss. The High Court had, on September 1, 2014, ordered the state inquire into the case so as to recover the amount of loss for “total casualness” in dealing with cases.
As per Arun Kumar Gupta, Director General of the Department of Urban Estate, though the inquiry officer has recommended minor punishment in Sharma’s case but in case of other four officers, major punishment was recommended for negligence and carelessness in official work. The recovery has already been effected from Dhoop Singh, Sangwan and Pal; amount is being deducted from Karambir’s salary but Sharma has approached the High Court and got stay on recovery.
The matter pertains to the acquisition of 271 acres land situated in village Patti Gadar of Kaithal district between 2002 and 2005 for development of Sector 18 of Kaithal. Deciding land owners’ petition, Kaithal District Court had assessed the market value of the acquired land at Rs. 300 per square yard. Later the High Court on January 23, 2012, in some cases reduced the compensation to Rs. 280 per square yard. But still these five officers made no efforts to file appeals in the High Court in 18 cases decided by the Kaithal court for seeking reduction of compensation from Rs. 300 to Rs. 280 per square yard.