A probe conducted by the Haryana Sports Department has indicted former Director (Sports) Jagdeep Singh, an IAS officer, his son Vishwajeet Singh and daughter Gauri Sheoran, both international level shooters. The shooters have been accused of making “fraudulent claims” and getting “excessive cash awards” to the tune of Rs 60 lakh when their father Jagdeep Singh was Director.
The probe has recommended a case against the three on charges of criminal breach of trust, embezzlement and cheating besides various offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act. Jagdeep Singh, currently in the Finance department of the state government, was transferred out of Sports last year.
The probe also recommended that both Vishwajeet and Gauri Sheoran, who won the prestigious Bhim award for state sportspersons, “may be directed to return the Certificate, Bhim statue, Blazer, Tie and Scarf” and “return the money illegally gotten with 12 per cent interest per annum”.
All three have been asked to reply within 15 days on why a criminal case should not be registered against them.
The probe report was approved by Sports Minister Anil Vij and was sent to the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for his final nod in December last year.
On March 7, based on the probe’s findings, Khattar ordered the Sports Department to issue the notice to the three.
Records show that an “excess award money” of Rs 43 lakh was paid to Gauri Sheoran and Rs 17 lakh to Vishwajeet Singh during 2013-16 when their father was Director, Sports.
Jagdeep Singh denied the findings. “I shall submit my reply. My daughter has won 24 international medals and participated in 33 international championships. Recently, she received an award in World University championship. She has 85 national medals. My son has 12 international and 50 national medals. They are the pride of the nation. How can anybody wrongly claim the state government’s money? Not only my children, but I can assure that not even a single sportsperson in Haryana has been wrongly awarded any money”.
The probe says the Bhim awards were wrongly given to both Sheoran and Singh. A minimum of 50 points is required to be eligible to get this award. It was revealed that while scoring sheet of Gauri Sheoran showed her having scored 84 points in the Team category, her Bhim Award score as per approved scoring scheme was 37 points. Similarly, in case of Vishwajeet Singh, his score sheet showed him having scored 60 points in Team category, while his score was 18 points.
The probe found that the Bhim “application forms of Gauri Sheoran and Vishwajeet Singh” were “reported missing from official records”.
“The modus operandi adopted by Jagdeep Singh was to obtain recommendations of a Committee consisting of subordinate officials of the Directorate without bringing to the notice of the Government at any stage while obtaining approvals that certain events and tournaments were not eligible for cash awards. There are cases, where more than one cash award were claimed for the same performance”, the probe report said.
Regarding Bhim awards to his children, Jagdeep Singh said: “The Director alone is not competent to give the Bhim award. There are numerous committees at multiple levels including district and headquarters comprising senior officers and coaches that approve it. Moreover, when Bhim awards were given to my children, I withdrew from that committee and was not part of it. There is no misappropriation on our part”.
The probe report was submitted by senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka, then Principal Secretary, Sports, in December last year. Sports Minister Anil Vij approved the action recommended and the file was sent to Chief Minister’s Office. Khattar’s OSD (Tour) Alok Verma raised a few queries to which Khemka replied: “As public servants, we do not function according to our whims and caprices, but we are guided by the rule of law and supposed to act as public trustees…Our Prime Minister by calling himself Chowkidar is again emphasizing the value of public trust in public life”.