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Prosecution go-ahead for 22 engineers

Ranchi, Feb. 7: The building construction department today gave sanction to prosecute 22 engineers for their alleged acts of omission and commission. It has also decided to initiate departmental proceedings against them.

The engineers are under the scanner for failing to furnish statements of advance amounts drawn by them. While 17 of them belong to the Chatra building construction division, four are from the Sahebganj division and one from Ranchi. Action will be taken against them under Public Demand Recovery Act.

In September 2008, the finance department had detected “misappropriation” of funds to the tune of Rs 11,589,517.83 in Chatra division of building construction department. But, the engineers in question reportedly did not take the matter seriously. Thereafter, the finance department wrote several letters to the building construction department, enquiring how much money had been recovered and what action had been taken. Finally, the department directed the executive engineer of Chatra division to lodge FIR against the engineers concerned.

The executive engineer of Sahebganj division, too, lodged separate FIRs against four engineers in September last year. They had allegedly swindled advance given to them for repair of Pakur Sadar Hospital in 2005-06.

In Ranchi, an FIR was lodged against an assistant engineer last September. He had withdrawn a sum of about Rs 4,45,150 but returned it after being booked by police.

Overall, four such engineers have returned the “unspent” amount, but still they will have face prosecution.

“An FIR or criminal proceedings cannot be withdrawn against those officials, who returned the advance only after police registered complaints against them,” said a senior official of the building construction department.

Sources said the chief secretary had recently expressed strong reservations over the delay in sanctioning prosecution against these erring engineers. He also sought an explanation from the building construction department.

“To give a clean administration, we also need to act tough. Our hands are tied. Necessary actions will be taken under Public Demand Recovery Act. This apart, all 22 engineers would also face departmental proceedings," said building construction minister Chandra Prakash Choudhary.

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