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Excess award money row: Sports dept clean chit to IAS officer, international shooter kids

After Khemka raised the issue, Haryana government had asked a senior IAS officer to look into the matter. That IAS officer recused himself, following which another senior IAS officer was asked to carry out an inquiry.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
January 28, 2021 8:08:34 pm
Haryana sports department, Haryana government, sports department, sports department Haryana sports department, India news, Indian ExpressIAS officer Jagdeep Singh

IAS officer Jagdeep Singh, his son Vishwajeet Singh and daughter Gauri Sheoran, both international level shooters, have been given clean chit by the Haryana Sports Department in a case where the siblings were accused of making fraudulent claims and receiving “excessive cash awards” of up to Rs 60 lakh when their father was director of sports in the state.

Senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who was then Principal Secretary, Sports, in 2019 had issued a show-cause notice to Jagdeep Singh and his children after conducting a probe, hinting that an ‘excess award money’ of Rs 43 lakh was given to Gauri Sheoran while Vishwajeet received Rs 17 lakh during 2013-16 in contravention with the sports policy of the state government.

After Khemka raised the issue, Haryana government had asked a senior IAS officer to look into the matter. That IAS officer recused himself, following which another senior IAS officer was asked to carry out an inquiry. The second officer said that the matter could be dealt by the Sports Department on its own.

The IAS officer and his children had landed in a controversy in March 2019 when Khemka, as the then Principal Secretary (Sports), after seeking approval from the then Sports Minister Anil Vij and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, had directed the sports department to issue the trio a showcause notice, seeking their replies on the alleged embezzlement, criminal breach of trust, cheating and corruption. Khemka had also recommended registration of a criminal case against the trio. However, before they could submit their replies, Khemka was transferred out of the sports department.

In May 2020, Khemka wrote to then chief secretary Keshni Anand Arora alleging more irregularities regarding the manner in which the award money was given to Vishwajeet and Gauri Sheoran.

In September, then Chief Secretary Keshni Anand Arora had returned the file with directions that the Administrative Department (Sports and Youth Affairs) should take a decision in the matter at its own level. Accordingly, a committee comprising Sunita Sharma (Joint Director, Sports), Arun Kant and Satyadev Malik was constituted by Principal Secretary (Sports) on September 22 to examine the procedure adopted in granting the cash awards to the children of Jagdeep Singh.

The sports department recently sent the committee’s report to the Chief Secretary for final nod.

The committee, in its report, mentioned that “like all other eligible applicants, cash award and Bhim Award were given to Vishwajeet and Gauri Sheoran after following the concerned guidelines/ rules/ schemes/ departmental sports policy and after obtaining the approval from competent authorities”.

The committee also submitted that “Jagdeep Singh was not the part of selection committee and no different norms or procedures were adopted in case of his children. It is also pertinent to mention here that the then Principal Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs department and the then Director (Sports) has already given their clear opinion that no wrong doing has happened at the level of Jagdeep Singh and he cannot be blamed for the allegations”.

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