Kochi

PWD officers suspended over graft charge

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Large-scale corruption unearthed in more road projects in Ernakulam

After the Palarivattom flyover corruption case, the Public Works Department is in the dock for more malpractices in road projects in the district.

The State government has suspended Latha Mangesh, Executive Engineer at the Ponkunnam Division of the Kerala State Transport project; K.M. Manoj, Assistant Engineer of the PWD National Highway Sub Division; and M.A. Shelmi, Junior Superintendent, Building Division, Kozhikode, from service after the Financial Inspection Wing of the State government unearthed large-scale corruption and malpractices during its investigations carried out at the Central circle, Aluva and Ernakulam Divisions, Aluva Sub Division and Aluva Section of the PWD (Roads and Bridges) division.

Charges

The charges levelled against the officials included illegal allocation of licences to contractors, release of funds for the works that were never implemented, forging of documents to waive security deposits from contractors, and serious irregularities in the distribution of bitumen, said a government order issued in relation with the suspension of the officials.

The audit of the works that were implemented for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years revealed that the officials illegally created documents to claim that three chipping carpet works were carried out in the Edappally-Muvattupuzha road stretch. They also forged documents to the effect that road works were carried out on a stretch where tiles were laid, thus causing the exchequer a loss of ₹1.47 crore, the inspection report said.

The officials caused a loss of another ₹19.84 lakh by releasing funds for the bitumen tar patch works of the Old Desam road, urgent rectification of the Aluva-Alangad road and the drain on Aluva Town Limit during the Aluva Sivarathri festival even before completing the measurements of the works and entering the data in the measurement book, it was reported.

VACB probe suggested

The inspection agency, while recommending the review of the works carried out by the suspended officials in Aluva earlier, suggested a probe by the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau into the alleged wealth amassed by the officials.

The investigation report suggested the recovery of ₹49.32 lakh each from Mr. Manoj, Ms. Mangesh and K.S. Jayaraj, Executive Engineer, PWD Ernakulam Division, for illegally allotting six road works in the Edappally-Muvattupuzha road stretch worth ₹1.47 crore and releasing another ₹74.99 lakh for the three chipping carpet works that were never implemented and ₹72.97 lakh for another work.

The wing has asked the State government to suspend the licences illegally allotted to a contractor, Subin George, and his associate institutions and disciplinary action against five officials who illegally helped the contractor secure licences.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 8:46:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pwd-officers-suspended-over-graft-charge/article29872908.ece

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