Consider probe by ACB in irregularities, corruption involving LAWDA: HC directs CS
Srinagar: The High Court has directed the Chief Secretary (J&K) to consider suggestions for a probe through Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) into irregularities and graft around the Dal pertaining to Lakes and Waterways Authority (LAWDA).
The suggestions of (investigation) by (Committee of Experts-COE on Dal Lake) are required to be examined and urgent efforts taken, observed a division bench of the High Court, hearing a PIL on the Lake.
“The Vice-Chairman LAWDA, shall place the Special Note by COE for investigation before the Chief Secretary J&K for consideration and an Action Taken Report shall be filed before us before the next date,” the court directed.
The special note by COE has suggested “10 cases of irregularities and graft around Dal and pertaining to LAWDA — where major irregularities are alleged — may be referred to ACB/Vigilance for time-bound enquiry”.
It suggests the investigation be completed within three months and the cases taken to their logical end.
“Only when suitable penal action is taken against the errant officials in at least a few cases, the clean-up process will begin. It will also instill a sense of justice and confidence amongst the local population,” it said.
The experts also spotlighted the “wrongdoing” in the decisions of the last three HLCS and asked for their re-examination within three months by the ACB to detect irregularities, if any.
It also called for “disciplinary action against officers posted in LAWDA against whom major allegations are pending and asked the process be completed by the disciplinary authority within next two months.”
The experts advocated “the Government of J&K may through a quick investigation find out cases of amassment of unaccounted wealth or property disproportionate to income of officers posted in LAWDA over the 15 years and take swift action in cases where irregularities are detected”.
According to the COE irregularities in plot assignment (for relocation of Dal-dwellers) were made and some dwellers were assigned more than they were actually eligible for.
It also said that there are allegations of sale of assigned plots in violation of assignment guidelines of rehabilitation policy and in some cases the allotted persons have returned to the Dal banks as encroachers.
The experts proposed a Special Act or Ordinance for acquisition of land in and around the Dal-Nigeen Lake.
“Based on the Act/Ordinance, the government should come up with a set of rules and guidelines carrying out acquisition and rehabilitation in a precise, professional yet humane manner so that it helps improve the situation in and around the Lake; at the same time all oustees get alternate homes to improve the lives of the future generation,” it said.
The court meanwhile directed “cases involving any aspect of acquisition of land which is required for any Dal Lake related matter, including rehabilitation project, shall proceed on a day to day to basis, unless the same has to be adjourned for a longer period for reasons which shall be recorded by the concerned district court”.
The Principal District Judge, Srinagar, shall take steps for consolidation of all matters relating to Dal Lake in one court to ensure that there is no conflict of judgment and that the cases are decided expeditiously, directed the division bench.
It also directed the Collector, LAWDA and the Executive Engineer, Division-I, LAWDA to prepare and place before it “the details of all the persons who had have to be relocated as well as the date on which the allotment letters at the relocation sites and also dates on which possession has been handed over to the relocated persons”.