Andhra Pradesh

Irrigation projects: probe launched into refund scam

Charges framed against two Commercial Tax officials

The State government has ordered an inquiry into the alleged illegal refund amounting to ₹500 crore granted in executing irrigation projects and other government works to a private company in 2013, and framed charges against then Nellore Commercial Tax Officer (CTO-III) T.L.B. Natasha and then Joint Commissioner (Commercial Taxes) G. Venkateswarlu.

The Vigilance and Enforcement (V&E) Department conducted an inquiry and submitted a report in 2018. The investigation officers substantiated illegal granting of funds causing huge revenue loss to the government.

The works were taken up by M/s. K.L. Sreedhar Reddy, Nellore, and charges were framed against Ms. Natasha and Mr. Venkateswarlu. The Vigilance Department recommended disciplinary proceedings against both officials.

Based on the inquiry report, the government initiated common disciplinary action and framed articles of charges against the two under Rule 24 of Andhra Pradesh Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal), Rules, 1991, for violation of APCC (Conduct) Rules, 1964. However, they submitted written statements of defence denying the charges.

Plea granted

In October, Ms. Natasha, in a representation, urged the government to take up the case against her separately as the remaining officers facing charges in scam have approached the High Court. The government granted her request, and issued an order in this regard.

Instructions have been given to the Commissioner of Inquiries and the inquiring authority to take up the case of Ms. Natasha separately. The inquiry against the remaining officials was pending.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 6:51:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/irrigation-projects-probe-launched-into-refund-scam/article30280100.ece

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