Srinagar: Four years have passed since the revelation of the Rs 200 crore scam at J&K Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) but little has been done to apprehend the offenders, casting doubt on the government’s claims to be tough on corruption.
According to sources, “certain businessmen were pushed out of the way illegally and contracts were handed to them. Purchase bills with exorbitant interest rates have also been passed.”
“Aside from that, the deep nexus between politicians and select businessmen who profited from this swindle was such that even tossing rules to the wind, advance withdrawal of huge funds were facilitated to benefit them,” the sources said. “There was a big connection. All of this was allegedly engineered by a high-profile politician to deliver benefits to his circle at the expense of government funds. It is a textbook illustration of how nexus incurred a Rs 200 crore loss to the exchequer.”
In 2018, BJP leader and former vice-chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), Sheikh Khalid Jehangir, alleged that blue-eyed individuals were given verbal instructions to work on prestigious projects worth Rs 200 crore in JKPCC in violation of the rules.
After that, the then Governor gave the order to form a Fact-Finding Commission, whose Chairman would be the Principal Secretary Planning and Monitoring Department.
The Fact-Finding Committee passed the case over to the Crime Branch of Police in April 2019 with the recommendation that all work done by JKPCC after November 2015 be scrutinised.
“All works executed or contracted out by JKPCC after the issuance of the government order of November 2015 be enquired into by the Crime Branch of Police (Srinagar) to identify any irregularities in the award of contracts in violation of prescribed SOP and procedures and take the necessary action as per the law,” reads the order issued by GAD under No GAD (Adm) 222/2018-IV. “It would also examine the role of the chairman, the board of directors, the administrative secretary, and the company secretary in this matter and take action as per the law. The Crime Branch is also directed to lodge an FIR in this matter.”
The Crime Branch registered the FIR in this case and took action as instructed by the committee.
“The case is under investigation, we have conducted raids at various places in the past, and the investigation is still on,” said an official.
Sources said that in connection with significant frauds at Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation, the Crime Branch of Police conducted raids at several locations throughout the various districts of J&K in the past few months.
According to the Crime Branch officials, the raids were conducted in Srinagar, Jammu, Shopian, Kupwara, and Ganderbal districts.
The Criminal Branch of the J&K Police received the investigation from the J&K administration last year and began an FIR and investigation.
The officials said, “Incriminating evidence has been seized during the searches under the established procedure, which is being examined in the case.”
However, according to officials, “Four years is a long time, and the government needs to take action right once to bring those responsible to justice. This case has tarnished the reputation of every employee of the company, even those who are doing their jobs honestly and professionally. Fraudsters need to be arrested.”
In 2017, an audio clip allegedly of the former Managing Director came to the fore in which the officer was asking his subordinates to collect Rs 5 lakh in Kashmir and Rs 5 lakh from Jammu.
He is heard telling the officer that he had succeeded in settling the matter with an officer in the State Vigilance Commission through a businessman.
However later, the MD termed that audio clip as “fabricated”.
On the 76th anniversary of India's independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the Red Fort's ramparts.
“Those who fled the country after looting banks during the tenure of the previous government, we have seized their property and are trying to get them back. Some have been forced to go behind the bars. We are trying to ensure that those who looted the country are compelled to return,” the PM said in his message to the nation.