SVO arrests CEO JKEDA in solar home lighting systems scam, leaves other officers untouched

Jammu: State Vigilance Organization (SVO) today arrested Chief Executive officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JKEDA) Shafat Sultan in a case of bungling in the procurement of solar home lighting systems.

According to the details available with Kashmir Life, SVO arrested Shafat Sultan CEO JKEDA in case FIR No:-10/2015 P/S VOK under section 5(1)(D) r/w 5(2) Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Corruption Act-sections 109,120B RPC registered in P/S VOK. SVO has stated that the accused during the year 2009-10 as CEO Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JKEDA) had indulged in bungling while procurement of Solar Home Lighting Systems.

SVO has said that investigation carried out so far has revealed that the accused has placed supply order for procurement of 6872 Nos. of SHLs from BEL(Bharat Electronics Limited) at exorbitant rates despite cheaper options were available. It has added that officers/officials of JKEDA without any requirement submitted project proposals for procurement of 12367 SHL’s in respect of 68 remote un-electrified villages of J&K State under Rural Village Electrification (RVE) Programme with project completion period of six working months to MNRE, GoI vide letter dated 20-02-2009.

The proposal was approved and sanctioned on 28-02-2009 after which Rs 99, 84100 were released/transferred as 70 percent of Central Financial Assistance to JKEDA on 04-03-2009 with condition of completion of Project till December-2009. The purchase committee intentionally and fraudulently finalized the decision about procurement of 6872 SHL’s in presence of the then ACEO Central JKEDA Shafat Sultan without involving financial advisor in favour of BEL Bangalore at the rate of Rs  13993 per unit after applying their amendment with 3.5 percent discount to the basic rate contract meant only for an order from North India worth more than Rs. 1 crore despite cheaper options available to them.

Thereby a  loss of  Rs  18, 27, 952  was caused whereas, the said firm was not participating in the new rate contract, the tender of which had already been opened on 29th July, 2009 DG S&D which fixed Rs  12, 500 per unit as basic rate for the item. The CEO had placed this order only 05 days before the period of rate contract was ending. According to SVO, purchase Committee knowingly dishonestly and intentionally finalized the procurement order only one week before the operation of new rate contract without any urgency by manipulating price bid under previous rate contract to confer undue benefit to BEL Limited.

Thus a cumulative loss of Rs 60.32 lakh approximately was caused to state exchequer by these officers and officials of JKEDA & others knowingly, dishonesty and intentionally by misuse and abuse their official position in criminal conspiracy with above said firms.  SVO had taken up investigation in the year 2015 after the registration of the case but no arrest was made. The arrest has been made to seek more information from the accused.

SVO sources said that recently retired controversial IAS officer Dr. Arun Kumar who is also one of the accused would be summoned once the investigation moves forward in this case. They confirmed that the summons are yet to be issued to other accused officers in this scam. “We have not issued summons to Dr. Arun Kumar. He is one of the accused and would summoned during the course of investigation,” said an official of SVO.

It needs to be mentioned here that the SVO had lodged FIR in the year 2015 after the scam surfaced against officers and officials of several departments, including Science and Technology, Planning and Development, Power development Department (PDD), District Industries Centre (DIC) Srinagar, JKEDA and BEL Bangalore for bungling in procurement of Solar Home Lighting Systems (SHLs) and their non-utilization during 2009-10. However, the single arrest has been made and that too after 2 long years.

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