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CB to investigate JKPCC scams; FIR to be lodged

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Appointment of MD Shonthu, diversion of funds under scanner

Srinagar: The Government today decided to hand over the investigation of major scams in Jammu & Kashmir Projects Construction Corp (JKPCC) to the Crime Branch of JK Police, a statement issued by the government said.

The statement issued today said that after receiving numerous complaints from many quarters about the functioning of JKPCC, particularly relating to corruption in civil contracts, illegality in appointments at multiple levels including at very senior positions, and excessive cost and time overruns, the government appointed a Fact Finding Committee to look into all these complaints.

The Fact Finding Committee was chaired by the Principal Secretary (Planning), and had the Divisional Commissioner (Jammu), Commissioner/ secretary (revenue) and MD, JKPCC as members.

The Fact Finding Committee submitted a voluminous report bringing out in detail large irregularities in the operation of JKPCC. The Committee also gave recommendations on improving the organization, the statement said.

It further said that there are many elements in the findings and observations in the report which are quite alarming and a cause of serious concern.

“For an organisation which is over 50 years old, its operations seem to be riddled with ad-hoc functioning, absence of rules and a lack of systematic procedures. These have given rise to irregularities, which is a serious concern, and necessary measures for correcting these have to be taken to bring some order in the Corporation for its own health and long term welfare,” said the statement.

The findings indicate that construction works have been executed by giving contracts on nomination basis which is a clear violation of a Government Order of November, 2015 which was adopted by the Board of Directors in February, 2016. “Irregular procedures in violation of government orders and BoD laid down SoPs are also noticed in engagement of consultants and nomination of piece workers. The Government has decided to hand over the investigation of all works executed or contracted out by the JKPCC after the issuance of the Government Order of November, 2015 to the Crime Branch of Police (Srinagar) to identify any irregularities in award of contracts in violation of prescribed SOP / procedures and take necessary action as per law. Based on the enquiry of the Crime Branch, further action against individuals will be taken up,” reads the statement.

The report has also indicated that JKPCC has no recruitment rules.

“The appointment of Vikar Mustafa Shonthu as Managing Director seems to have been done in clear violation of Government instructions and the Articles of Association of the Company. The appointment of the Chairman, any Director or the Managing Director is to be done by the Government, viz, either by the Cabinet or the Chief Minister in co-ordination. It appears that this appointment was done by the Chairman (who was the then Minister), who was not competent to do so. The appointment was ab initio illegal. The Government has decided that the irregularity in the appointment of Vikar Mustafa Shonthu as Managing Director be referred to the Crime Branch of Police, Srinagar immediately for lodging an FIR and taking further action. Crime Branch would examine the role of the Chairman, the Board of Directors, the Administrative Secretary and the Company Secretary in this matter and take action as per law,” said the statement.

The statement further said that the Fact Finding Committee will also look into all appointments made by JKPCC and ensure that all irregular appointments are terminated and action taken against those responsible. This will be done in three months, by 30.6.2019.

In order to ensure that there is adequate oversight over the affairs of the corporation, a number of administrative steps will be taken including all powers of appointment to be removed from the Managing Director, the Administrative Secretary being made Vice Chairman of the Board, and all proposals made by the MD to the Chairman or to the Board to be routed through the Vice Chairman necessarily.

The statement further said that the Committee reveals shocking details regarding diversion of funds by JKPCC from one project to another.

“This indicates poor control systems and absence of proper accounting procedures. The Committee also finds that there are large cost and time over-runs in projects. This is an indication of poor project management skills and weak controls.”

It is pertinent to mention here that in December, 2018, the government constituted a fact finding committee to look into the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation Limited (JKPCC).

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