Business Standard

Punjab food dept official dismissed for negligence in discharge of duty

This came days after the registration of a case by the Vigilance Bureau in connection with alleged irregularities in Ludhiana district in the previous Congress government.

Godown, food grain, FCI, coronavirus

Photo: PTI

Press Trust of India Chandigarh
Amid alleged irregularities in the tendering process of labour, cartage and transportation for lifting foodgrain, Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Lal Chand Kataruchak on Saturday said his department has dismissed a deputy director rank officer for gross negligence in the discharge of duty.
This came days after the registration of a case by the Vigilance Bureau in connection with alleged irregularities in Ludhiana district in the previous Congress government.
The role of Deputy Director Rakesh Kumar Singla is being investigated with regard to the irregularities in the tendering process, sources said.
Singla is said to be close to former food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu whose role is also under the scanner, they said.
Addressing the media here, minister Kataruchak said Singla has been dismissed for wilfully concealing facts and gross negligence in discharge of official duty.
Kataruchak said Singla violated the Punjab Civil Services Rules, 1970 by hiding the fact that he had acquired permanent residency in Canada in 2006.
The officer was chargesheeted in 2017 and the charges were proved on January 29, 2019, said Kataruchuck.
The entire matter was probed by a retired judge and an officer of the department. The officer was provided a copy of the chargesheet but he did not join the probe. Hence, considering the circumstances, the said officer has been dismissed today, said the minister.
The Vigilance is also probing the role of former minister Ashu's close aide Minu Malhotra.
When Kataruchuk was asked about the role of Ashu, he refused to say anything except that the matter is under investigation.
He, however, said no one involved in the irregularities will be spared.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, while responding to allegations against Ashu, called it a vendetta against the Congress leader and the former minister. Warring said Ashu had only implemented the policy passed by the Cabinet.
Is it the minister's job to verify the registration number of the vehicles, he asked.
The Vigilance Bureau on August 16 had registered a case against three persons of a firm and some officials of the state Food and Civil Supplies Department for irregularities in the tendering process.
During investigation, it was found that at the time of submitting tenders for 2020-21, lists of vehicles submitted by the contractors were containing registration numbers of scooters, motorcycles and cars which were not verified by the officials due to criminal connivance with each other.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 21 2022 | 12:13 AM IST

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