Two months after the Haryana sports department exonerated state’s former Director Sports Jagdeep Singh and his international rank shooter son Vishwajeet Singh and daughter Gauri Sheoran from allegations of claiming extra reward money in lieu of their achievements, senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka has now highlighted that not one, “but at least three frauds were committed in the case”.
In a letter, dated May 20, written to Chief Secretary Keshni Anand Arora, Khemka has said that the “frauds committed constitute glaring and open abuse of public office and letting it go will itself be an act of fraud on the public offices we occupy”.
Hinting at officers’ vested interests, Khemka said, “It is more than 14 months since the show cause notice was issued, but the file remains dumped in the Sports Department. Every loophole has been exploited in self-interest. The government notice cannot be allowed to die with the passage of time. Private interests of those occupying public offices cannot and must not trump the larger public interest”.
Jagdeep, Vishwajeet and Gauri had landed in a controversy in March last year when Khemka, as the then Principal Secretary (Sports), after seeking approval from then sports minister Anil Vij and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, had ordered the sports department to issue them 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.
Elaborating the three alleged irregularities committed in the case, Khemka, in the letter to Chief Secretary, has written: “Not only were cash awards paid against the ineligible categories, three other types of frauds as detailed below were committed in the case of children of Jagdeep Singh during his tenure as Director Sports and which has been omitted altogether by the officers in their file notings”.
“Multiple payments against one score by playing a single event — A glaring example of five cash awards paid to Ms Gauri Sheoran against one score obtained by playing one event. Gauri Sheoran played in the 25M sports pistol women’s event at the 59th National Shooting Championship-2015. With a score of 567, she ranked 10th and did not qualify to play the finals, where only the top 8 qualified. The National Rifle Association of India, in order to collect more match fees, categorize the shooters into several sub-categories on the basis of a single score obtained in the open qualifying round. Gauri Sheoran…was given five medals in five sub-categories and using these five medals, she claimed and collected five cash awards. If this is not playing fraud with public money, what is? There are other multiple claims by the brother-sister duo as detailed in the government notice, but completely omitted by the senior officers in their notings,” Khemka wrote in his letter.
Talking about the tournaments for which Vishwajeet and Gauri claimed and got cash awards, Khemka wrote, “Ineligible tournaments – tournaments which did not qualify for the cash awards under the policy, but cash awards were claimed and wrongly paid. Two examples are the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship-2015 and the International Junior Cup-2015, Suhl. Gauri Sheoran collected Rs 22 lakh for playing in the two tournaments, which did not qualify for the cash awards”.
He further added, “Excess payment made to Vishwajeet Singh in an event over and above what is provided in the sports policy”.
Khemka added that the conferment of Bhim awards was also done in this case based on wrong scoring. “There is no rebuttal in the replies or in the notings as regards the wrong scores awarded to Gauri Sheoran and Viahswajeet for conferring Bhim Awards fraudulently. While actual score of Gauri Sheoran was 37, she was awarded 84; actual score of Vishwajeet was 18 while he was awarded 60. The scoring sheet and the application forms of the two children of Jagdeep Singh are reported to be missing from the office records. It is easy to verify the actual score as per the approved scoring norm for the Bhim awards,” Khemka wrote adding that “The missing records show that either the two candidates had made false claims in their application forms or the committee accorded wrongful benefits to them by wrong and fraudulent marking. A criminal case was not registered in the matter despite direction on file to the Director Sports”.
The then Director (Sports) Bhupinder Singh and Principal Secretary (Sports) Anand Mohan Sharan had exonerated Jagdeep, Vishwajeet and Gauri citing “precedents” and mentioning that “the practice has been in vogue since long”. Both Bhupinder Singh and Anand Mohan are also no more in the sports department.
Referring to The Indian Express’ February 28 report, Khemka wrote, “The Indian Express news story show that the two senior officers of the Sports department in their notings on file, instead of evaluating the replies of the delinquents to the government notice on merit, have paraded lies and indulged in whataboutery. They have defended the accused arguing that since cash awards were paid in junior and sub-junior categories to others in the past, hence Jagdeep Singh should not be singled out”
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