AFTER AN inquiry report pointed at the involvement of three Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers, a retired Punjab Forest Services (PFS) officer and a Derabassi Range Officer in financial irregularities, the forest department suspended Range Officer Satpal Singh. The department is yet to take action against the other officers.
RO Satpal Singh was suspended last week after senior officials of the department inspected the sites of nature parks in Derabassi where development work was shown on paper while the inquiry report found that nothing had been done.
Chandigarh Newsline reported on January 15 that an inquiry was conducted by Forest Officer Harsh Kumar and the report was sent to the vigilance director and senior officers of the forest department on January 8.
Harsh had mentioned in his report that many irregularities had been committed by IFS officers – Chief Conservator Officer Ratna Kumar, Assistant Chief Conservator Officer Rajesh Chowdhary and Forest Officer, Bist Circle, Jalandhar, Mahavir Singh – as well as retired PFS officer Tejinder Singh Saini and Derabassi Forest Range Officer Satpal Singh.
The report highlighted 14 points, including setting up of forest committees in Isapur and Mehamdpur. In the report, Harsh had remarked that the committees were fake and the officer had caused a loss of Rs 60 lakh to the state exchequer. The report even found that the officer had caused a loss of Rs 24.20 lakh to the exchequer by showing the purchase of a solar system that was actually not purchased.
The complainant, Satpal Singh, a resident of Derabassi, however, said that merely suspending the RO was not the solution as the department was yet to take action against the senior officers and he would move court against them, too.