As reported by Kapil Trikha on January 14, 2008

Rs 15 lakh spent on this stadium

Rs 15 lakh spent on this stadium

Abohar, January 13 More than Rs 80 lakh meant for carrying out different development works in the town have allegedly been embezzled in Municipal Council, Abohar, during 2006-07. The embezzled amount also includes a grant of Rs 35 lakh given by former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to construct a stadium in Azimgarh, near here. A senior official of the Municipal Council alleged funds were embezzled in connivance with some officials of the civic body and Sanjeev Chahar, a Congress councillor.

The official said the funds were meant for renovation of the local bus stand, Nehru Park, a side lane adjoining local Hanumangarh Road, repair of two fire brigades and construction of the Azimgarh stadium.

The Indian Express found that Rs 9 lakh were spent by local philanthropists on repair of two fire brigades, but sources said the amount was also withdrawn from the accounts of the Municipal Council.

It was also found that Rs 36 lakh were spent on renovation of local Nehru Park by local Kaccha Arhtiya Association, IFFCO and some social organisations, but this amount was also withdrawn from the MC accounts and payments were made to a bogus firm allegedly owned by Chahar.

Similarly, money was withdrawn for work on Hanumangarh Road, for which a local truck union arranged Rs 10 lakh. Sources in the MC said Rs 20 lakh were spent on the renovation of the local bus stand by some social organisations, but the amount was credited to the bogus firm.

When information was sought under the RTI Act, The Indian Express was told that Rs 15 lakh had been spent on the construction of the stadium, out of the Rs 35-lakh grant released by the former CM. However, only the foundation stone stands at the stadium site.

When asked about other works, the information officer submitted that no information regarding their expenses and payments was available in the accounts section of the MC.

Hakam Singh, Assistant Mechanical Engineer (AME) of the MC, said records of all these development works and construction of the stadium had been requisitioned by the Vigilance Department of the Local Bodies Ministry.
Jaskaran Singh, ADC, Ferozepur, who has the additional charge of Deputy Director, Local Bodies, admitted that there were anomalies in the accounts of development works.

A special investigation team would be sent to the council to check the records and after getting the report, suitable action would be recommended, he said.

Ferozepur Deputy Commissioner Bhagwant Singh said he has also directed the officials concerned to submit the records as soon as possible.

However, Sanjeev Chahar said everything was on record and the Vigilance Department of the Local Bodies Ministry had thrice checked the municipal records and no discrepancies were traced. Chahar added that he was ready to face action if the charges were proved.