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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rs 300 crore scam: 13 years on,J-K govt yet to recover funds

The Minister of State for Cooperatives,Dr Manohar Lal Sharma,describes the scam a complicated issue.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | Published: April 11, 2013 3:39:03 pm

Thirteen years after the detection of a Rs 300 crore scam in the J&K Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation (JAKFED) in the state,the Jammu Kashmir government is yet to recover the siphoned off money from the accused.

Significantly,this has been so when the one man inquiry commission headed by K B Pillai,the then Principal Secretary Power Development Department,had in 2000 named 50 officials in the multi crore scam. Of them,while 35 employees stand terminated,14 others have ge home after their retirement.

Against the lone employee,whose name figured in the scam and who is still in service,the JAKFED’s Managing Director does not want any action as it will adversely affect the functioning of the organization.

“His removal/attachment at this stage shall shatter the economy of the JAKFED especially because of the fact that the organization is already short of well educated and experienced officers,’’ reads a letter written by him to Registrar Cooperative Societies on March 31 this year.

The Minister of State for Cooperatives,Dr Manohar Lal Sharma,however,describes the scam a complicated issue,with cases pertaining to it pending with the Vigilance Organization,Crime Branch,State Accountability Commission and even the Anti-Corruption Court . He has set up a high level committee to look into the matter and recover outstanding,if any,from all those retired and terminated from service,the minister added.

The scam was put at Rs 299 crore by one man inquiry commission headed by K B Pillai way back in August 2000,on accoumt of fraudulent drawls by employees,supply fertilizers,cement and other construction materials within the state. Immediately thereafter,the state government had not only ordered a special audit of JAKFED,but also forwarded the Pillai report to Vigilance Organization for necessary action into the matter. Apart from this,thirty-five employees were terminated and 15 others attached with the GAD.

The Vigilance Organization,in turn,registered 22 FIRs against JAKFED officials,while the General Administration Department constituted a committee for periodical review of the case being investigated and later challaned. However,fourteen cases were later closed as ”not proved’’,while the remaining ones were still pending disposal either with the Vigilance Organization or the Anti-Corruption Court .

The matter figured recently in the State Legislative Council also,with legislators even on the treasury benches expressing concern over cash starved state government’s failure to recover such a huge amount during the last 13 years. It is strange that the government only terminated 35 employees and attached 15 others named in the scam,but did not initiate proceedings to recover the public money even when a number of them retired and went home unpunished,the legislators rued; making the Council Chairman Amrit Malhotra agree to their demand for a House Committee probe into the matter.

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