Despite West Bengal Chief Secretarys claim that the Commissioner of Siliguri K Jayaraman exceeded his brief when he arrested Malda District Magistrate G Kiran Kumar in a corruption case and did not keep the government in the loop,an inquiry into the scam reveals facts to the contrary.
Top home department officials confirmed Wednesday that IPS officer Jayaraman had written two letters first on October 30 and the other on July,2013 to the government,giving detailed information about the IAS officers alleged involvement in the multi-crore scam and seeking sanction for action.
Sources also revealed the contents of the letters to The Indian Express in which K Jayaraman had detailed the charges against the DM along with the clinching evidence available with the investigators.
The October 30 letter was a repetition of the July letter and a desperate call for action as the investigation was hampered and benefited other accomplices because of absence of action against the DM in siphoning off government money to the tune of over Rs 125 crore.
The home department chose to sit on both the letters.
The investigators could recover about Rs 30 crore that were siphoned off after having frozen 20 bank accounts including the accounts of the contractors and the government engineers involved in the scam.
The last letter written by Jayaraman included at least 15 questions which were put before the DM that he had refused to answer.
But in a case that turned out to be a battle of hierarchy between the IAS and IPS,the Chief Secretary defended the DM and in an unfortunate sequel to his action Jayaraman has now been put on compulsory waiting which,in government parlance,stands for punishment.
The letters mentioned how work on various schemes remained executed only on paper and work orders were issued. Physical verification proved gross violations in the norms of the projects and how tender secrets were leaked out. While examining the projects documents,we did not find any specification sheet of the projects and DPR was missing. Moreover,the online tenders were not opened. All these issues were explained in the letters, said a senior police official who is investigating the case.
The total amount of money involved in the scam is Rs 147 crore,it was also mentioned in the letter.
At least ten people were arrested before the DMs arrest. And had the DM not been taken in custody,those arrested would have been granted bail one after another. It was also mentioned in the letter,the sources said.
The projects from which funds were siphoned off included among others installation of surveillance cameras in Siliguri town under a surveillance project of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority ( SJDA). It was found by the investigators that the SJDA paid Rs 3. 85 lakh per camera while a total of 30 camera were claimed to have been purchased while physical verification revealed that the cameras installed were normal CCTV cameras worth Rs 30,000 each. The project was to install pan tilt and zoom cameras while only five pan tilt and zoom cameras worth Rs 1. 65 lakh each were found.
The first official notice for interrogation was issued to in October,to which he had responded he was ill.
In the first week of November,the second notice was sent out to him. He responded,saying he could appear only after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee s visit to Malda in November-end.
After he was served a third notice,he appeared before the investigators on November 29 but refused to answer any questions.
Kumar is now on leave for two weeks and is in his home town in Andhra Pradesh. When contacted,he said: I have been victimized and there is a political conspiracy.
According to officials close to Kumar,he used to have good relations with former SJDA chairman Rudranath Bhattacharya,which earned him the wrath of other senior leaders of TMC of north Bengal.
Kumar,who worked as an assistant veterinary surgeon under the Andhra Pradesh government,joined the civil services in 2005 while Jayaraman,a resident of Tamil Nadu,who has earlier worked for the Indian Air Force,joined the IPS in 1997. In these years,these two officers are said to have met once near Tirupati temple. I only met him once outside the Tirupati Balaji Temple when I was a probationer. And then I met him when I was called for interrogation, said Kumar.