In a major step stated to be in line with the State Government’s policy of zero tolerance for corruption, two Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers were suspended for their alleged involvement in the national highway 74 scam. The IAS officers-Pankaj Kumar Pandey and Chandresh Kumar were suspended for their alleged role in the scam during their tenure as District Magistrate of Udham Singh Nagar district and arbitrator for the NH 74 land acquisition.
The suspension order signed by the State’s additional chief secretary Radha Raturi states that with allegations against Pandey and Kumar being found prima facie valid in the investigation report of the special investigation team, after disciplinary action, further action can be taken against them. Under the All India Services (Discipline and Appeals) Rules 1969, rule 3, the governor grants approval for their immediate suspension. During the suspension period, they will receive permissible allowances as per the conditions and restrictions under rules 4 and 5 of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeals) Rules, 1969. Further, during this period, they will remain attached to the additional chief secretary, personnel.
It should be mentioned here that both Pandey and Kumar have served as the district magistrates of Udham Singh Nagar and arbitrators for the national highway 74 widening work. In the cases of arbitration pertaining to acquisition of land for the NH 74 work, Pandey is accused of violating the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, National Highways Act, 1956 along with the financial procedures, government orders and guidelines of the Central and State governments. Government land was wrongly shown to be privately owned land and legal action was not taken against encroachers who were instead shown as beneficiaries and orders were passed for paying crores of rupees in compensation to such persons. Similarly, Yadav is also accused of violating provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and National Highways Act 1969 in arbitration cases pertaining to land acquisition for NH 74 work.
Violating the Acts, Government orders and guidelines, agricultural land was shown as non-agricultural land and compensation was fixed against the rules to pass orders for paying crores of rupees in compensation. It will be recalled that more than a dozen persons including Provincial Civil Service (PCS) officers and others who were government employees at the time of the scam being orchestrated have already been arrested for their alleged involvement the Rs 300 crore NH 74 scam.