Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Vigilance arrests Forest RO on charges of misappropriating Kichumdumra project funds

Vigilance case lists Addl Director among accused, invites people to share further information

Sikkim Vigilance Police on 07 October, Wednesday, arrested PK Sharma, a Range Officer of the Forest Department, under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 on charges of misutilization and misappropriation of funds in connection with the execution of a project at Kichumdumra in South Sikkim, around 30 KM from the south district headquarter town of Namchi, informs a press release issued by the SP, Vigilance Police.
The release further informs that the case is also registered against an IFS officer of the Department, Udai Gurung, Additional Director, who, along with Mr. Sharma, had supervised and executed the works titled “Development of Ecological Park with Recreation and Allied Facilities at Kichumdumra, South Sikkim”.

Though the release does not mention the names of the other accused, it lets on that a few others are also included in the list of accused, as it states, “…and others for entering into a criminal conspiracy to cheat the government and misappropriate of public funds.”
According to Vigilance Police, the project had been sanctioned by the State Government at an estimated cost of Rs. 7.8 crores and was to be executed in three phases. The release states, “A total amount of Rs. 3.5. crores had already been spent in first two phases of execution which started in the year 2011 and was due for completion by March 2014. The Vigilance Department enquiry found that several components of the works remained either incomplete or non-existent on ground, even though entire money had been withdrawn.”
The release contended that the arrest of Mr. Sharma was made “to take the investigation forward for further interrogation and trace the trail of money misappropriated”.
On how the Vigilance Department took up the case, the release states that action was taken after “widespread complaints” from the “general public” about the misutilization and misappropriation of funds by the officials of the Department. It further said that the Department had conducted a detailed enquiry into the allegations and based on its ‘findings’ it has registered a criminal case No. RC-07/2015 on 05 October under Sections 120B, 420, 468, 471, 409 of IPC and sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The Department has also appealed to the members of the society to share any information pertaining to the projects as well as other projects, if there are specific reports of misappropriation of public funds other irregularities in execution. “The Department would respond to initiate firm action against the culprits,” the release assures.

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