The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday asked the Punjab government to take action against all the officers as well as sarpanches and panches allegedly involved in the embezzlement of panchayat funds.
The directions were passed during the resumed hearing of a PIL filed by Kulwant Singh of Chhapar village (Ludhiana) in which he has sought audit of panchayat funds across the state. During the hearing,Balwinder Singh,director,Rural Development and Panchyats,Punjab,filed an affidavit stating that out of 12,000 gram panchayats in the state,accounts of 7,771 have been audited.
In the affidavit,it was disclosed that in 498 cases,ex-sarpanches did not handover the cash in hand to their successors. Therefore,action has been taken against 92 officials,including 49 Block Development Panchayat officer (BDPOs) and 39 panchayat secretaries,by chargesheeting them. Also,one BDPO and 11 panchayat secretaries have been suspended.
However,the court observed that action has not been taken uniformly against the officials concerned with the panchayats where embezzlement of funds has taken place. The Bench also recorded the submission made by HC Arora,counsel for the petitioner,that a perusal of the affidavit reveals that no action has been taken against any sarpanch or panch anywhere in Punjab. Hence,the court directed the government to take action against the remaining officials.