In a bid to take the war against corruption to its logical conclusion and ensure transparency, the Local Government Minister, Punjab, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu has now ordered that charge-sheet against suspended SEs P.K.Goel, Kulwinder Singh, Pawan Sharma and Dharam Singh may be drawn up and issued and a detailed investigation into all tenders allotted under Urban Mission may be undertaken with reference to issues raised by the AG in his comment and prima facie evidence available from CVO's report. Besides, the charge-sheet against Ms. Sonali Giri, Mr. G.S. Khera and Mr. Ghanshyam Thori may be framed and put up on a separate file, which is to be sent to CMO for sanction.Disclosing this, an official spokesman said that as per the directions of the Local Government Minister, the Chief Vigilance Officer, Local Government carried out a sample inspection of files of civil/work orders for Municipal Corporations, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Bathinda. After examining 1000 files pertaining to civil work/work orders, he observed that over half the work orders were placed based on a single bid and nearly 200 work orders were placed based on two bids. Total amount of so awarded contracts is approximately Rs. 500 Crore.The spokesman further added that taking cognizance of above, the Local Government Minister had suspended SEs P.K.Goel, Kulwinder Singh, Pawan Sharma and Dharam pending departmental enquiry. The said SEs requested for and received hearing from the Minister.
The SEs raised a number of procedural concerns with the minister. Based on various queries raised, the Minister referred following to the Advocate General Punjab for his legal opinion:
(a) Whether the award of tender by way of single tender is permissible in law and if so in what circumstances?
Yes, under very rare and exceptional circumstances, after recording justification on file for this and pursuant to the permission from the competent authority.
(b) Whether the procedure adopted presently for consideration and granting such tenders is valid, legal and proper?
(c) Whether the Local Government circular dated 22nd February 2011 is in conformity with law, having any binding effect on the Corporations?
The circular dated 22nd February 2011 is not in conformity with law and has no binding effect.
(d) Alternatively whether the funds allotted to the Corporations from any source would be governed by Municipal Laws?
In terms of Section 76 of the PMC Act 1976, the funds allotted to the Corporation from any source would be governed by municipal laws and more particularly the provisions of the PMC Act 1976.
(e) Whether the Act passed by the Legislation or any executive circular issued by the Department would have binding/overriding effect on the municipal bodies?
It is the Act passed by the Legislature which would have overriding effect over and above all circulars which may be read contrary to the express provision of such Statute or the law laid down by the Supreme Court and (in this case) the CVC guidelines.
After seeing the AGs opinion, The Local Government Minister has now ordered following:
(i) Charge-sheet against SEs Sh.P.K.Goel, Sh.Kulwinder Singh, Sh.Pawan Sharma and Sh.Dharam Singh may be drawn up and issued.
(ii) A detailed investigation into all tenders allotted under Urban Mission may be undertaken with reference to issues raised by Hon'ble AG in his comment and prima facie evidence available from CVO's report.
(iii) Charge-sheet against Ms.Sonali Giri, Sh.GS Khera and Sh.Ghanshyam Thori may be framed and put up on a separate file, which is to be sent to CMO for sanction.