L-G revokes pension of 9 former DDA officials in 9-year-old graft case

Action against the accused functionaries has been initiated in connection with the beautification of Coronation Park in north Delhi in 2013.  

Action against the accused functionaries has been initiated in connection with the beautification of Coronation Park in north Delhi in 2013.   | Photo Credit: File photo

Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Thursday ordered an FIR against 11 Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials in a 9-year-old case of alleged corruption.

Action against the accused functionaries, nine of whom are retired and will have their pensions revoked permanently, was taken in connection with the upgrade and beautification of the Coronation Park at north Delhi’s Kingsway Camp in 2013. The work was awarded to M/s Ajab Singh and Co.

L-G House sources said the accused officials allegedly carried out additional work worth ₹114.83 crore despite the sanctioned tender cost of ₹14.24 crore and Mr. Saxena’s orders were aimed at ensuring accountability and fixing responsibility for “corruption and financial misconduct right at the cutting edge of decision-making”.

“Mr. Saxena, in his capacity as Chairman, DDA, has expressed displeasure and ordered an FIR against the then Member (Finance) and Member (Engineering) of the DDA, apart from the nine retired officials, for blatant financial misappropriation and violation of Codal Formalities in 2013,” a source said. The retired officials include a Chief Engineer, a Superintendent Engineer and an Executive Engineer, among others.

“The officials facing action include Abhay Kumar Sinha, then Member (Engineering), and Venkatesh Mohan, then Member (Finance). The retired officials are Om Prakash, Nahar Singh, J.P. Sharma, P.K. Chawla, Jasvir Singh, S.C. Mongia, S.C. Mittal, R.C. Jain and Dilbagh Singh Bains,” the source added.

‘Grave misconduct’

Terming it “grave misconduct and loss to the exchequer”, the L-G, according to the source, issued orders to “permanently withdraw the full pension benefits” of the retired officials against the department’s recommendation of withdrawing only 25% of their pension.

The case relates to work related to the Coronation Park at Kingsway Camp awarded to M/s Ajab Singh and Co. in 2013. The tender cost of the work was ₹14.24 crore but additional work amounting to ₹114.83 crore were carried out at Narela and Dhirpur, without any sanctions,” the source said.

“This gross irregularity was pointed out by the CAG in its report in 2016, which concluded an overall deviation of 897.67%, almost 9 times the original cost,” the source said. The additional work, the source said, should have been done through fresh tenders that would have not only “saved crores” in terms of competitive bidding but also ensured better quality.

“In what appears to be a case of convenient collusion between the contractor and the officials, all laid-down norms were violated to benefit the contractor in lieu of probable commissions,” said the source.

“Interestingly, the execution of the additional work was approved by the then Chief Engineer (North Zone) on the day of his retirement in 2014. DDA officials from the accounts and finance departments released payments by diverting funds from other heads, thus violating laid down procedures,” the source added.

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Printable version | Aug 25, 2022 6:43:27 pm |