No action yet on PWD fraud, Sudhakaran's office buries probe report

Mega fraud unearthed in PWD, minister's office suppresses probe report

Thiruvananthapuram: More skeletons are tumbling out of the closet of the LDF government and the latest in the form of a report by the finance inspection wing on road works have likely spooked the Pinarayi Vijayan administration.

Financial irregularities worth lakhs of rupees in connection with the road works undertaken by the Public Works Department (PWD) were unearthed by the inspection wing, but there was a likely move to bury a report which recommended action against officials responsible.

The state government has not initiated any action despite the report clearly recommending criminal action against officials who awarded road contract work by altering the dates on stamp papers and creating fake documents.

A section of higher-ups in the office of the Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran had allegedly intervened in sabotaging the probe and the details of the report were likely hidden from him.

Though the file which was seen by the finance minister and finance secretary returned to the public works minister’s office on October 27, no action was taken on it. 

Ironically, the minister’s own office suppressed the report of the finance inspection wing which was praised by Mr Sudhakaran while comparing the raids carried out by the Vigilance on KSFE not long ago.

The minister had described the finance inspection wing as strong and remarked that he often hailed them for taking action against PWD officials.

Count the losses

The finance wing has come out with startling details of the loss suffered by the PWD on account of the road project. The state exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 21.44 lakh in connection with the alleged corruption in Anchalumoodu-Kureepuzha and Niravil roads in Kollam district, its report stated.

The Niravil road was constructed by compromising the quality and without adhering to the rules following which the exchequer suffered loss of Rs 5.85 lakh.

The construction Anchalumoodu-Kureepuzha was shown on papers but in reality no work was carried out. As a result, the exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 15.59 lakh.

Ghost work

Earlier the inspection carried out by the Kollam treasury wing had revealed that the dates on stamp papers had been altered and fake documents had been made to award the contract for the construction of Anjalumoodu-Kureepuzha road. The contractor was paid money based on a fake contract and for a work which was never executed.

No contract worth the name existed when the bill was received by the section concerned. The report said that the engineer, who took the initiative for awarding the contract, had returned to the old office even after being transferred out, to create the fake contract.

Crime condoned

The inspection wing had recommended that the officials, who caused loss to the exchequer through the two acts, should be suspended from service for creating fake documents and indulging in financial irregularities. Its report recommended the suspension of executive engineers G Unnikrishnan and Dr Sajan; assistant executive engineers V R Shobha, Prajitha  Chandran and Sunitha S.

Registration of criminal cases was recommended against officials who altered the dates on the stamp paper and created fake documents. It also recommended that the loss suffered by the government should be recovered from the officials, action should be taken against officials of the quality control wing at Kollam and the contractor’s licence should be scrapped with immediate effect.

Though a Vigilance inquiry was recommended into the above fraud, no follow-up action has been taken yet.

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