Fraud in PHE Division Handwara: Minister says ‘in Touch’ with Crime Branch

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KL Report

SRINAGAR

Public Health Engineering (PHE) Minister Sukhnandan Kumar Friday said a departmental committee will be constituted to probe into the bungling in PHE divisions Handwara of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Pertinently, Crime Branch has arrested then Executive Engineer PHE, Cashier and two contractors for swindling a large chunk of money illegally from past few years. The preliminary investigation has revealed that that water schemes for Mawar, Monabal, Ramhal and Zakhsondri areas of Langate and Handwara existed only on papers while on ground no water pipes were laid in such areas.

Minister for PHE Sukhnandan Kumar told CNS that he is in touch with Crime Branch and strict possible action will be initiated against these corrupt people.

“This fraud has occurred during previous NC-Congress rule and we will not spare anybody despite his stature and position,” he said adding that there is no place for any corrupt official in the present government.

Independent legislator of the area Engineer Rashid said that he had raised the issue of fraud committed by some PHE officials in Handwara division many times in the Legislative Assembly but the previous government did not bother to act.

“I demand that a thorough probe should be conducted and the facts should be made public. Government should answer to people what happened to money drawn by the corrupt officials illegally and never implemented any scheme on ground,” he said.

A Crime Branch official said that then Executive Engineer PHE of Handwara Division, Cashier and two contractors are in lock up and investigation is going on at full speed.

“Preliminary investigation has revealed that Executive Engineer and Cashier took help of two contractors to commit fraud. All the money drawn illegally by Executive Engineer and Cashier have gone into the bank accounts of these contractors. Official records show that from 2008 to 2014 crores of rupees were illegally withdrawn by the officials but were never used for any works in the Handwara Division. Besides, the accused have withdrawn the salaries (double drawl) of some 65 employees illegally. The quantum of the fraud is huge. We have also recovered 15 cheques worth Rs 32 lakhs from these accused,” he said.

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