‘Bribe’ paid for illegal recruitment of constables; VB launches probe

Action against AIG, other police officials initiated; role of a senior Home Dept officer too under scanner

Manish Tiwari | Chandigarh

The Punjab police have initiated action against several officers, including AIG Malvinder Singh Sidhu, in connection with a recruitment scam and handed over the case to the State Vigilance Bureau (VB) for investigations.
Soon after unearthing the racket involving “illegal and fraudulent” recruitment of six constables in the Information Technology and Telecommunications (IT&T) Wing of the Punjab Police on the basis of “fake and forged documents”, the State police had registered a corruption case in Mohali a few months ago and launched departmental proceedings against those who were prima facie found involved in the recruitments.
While the State Vigilance Bureau (VB) is already probing the case, the Punjab police have initiated departmental action against the then DSP Ashok Kumar Dogra, Inspectors Surinder Singh and Sukhvir Singh and Sub Inspector Manmohan Singh, besides forwarding the recommendations against Sidhu to the Home Department for necessary action.
DGP (Modernisation and IT&T) VK Bhawra, when contacted, said: “We have initiated action against the officials prime facie found involved in the illegal recruitments and handed over the case to the State Vigilance for further probe on the orders of the State DGP.” As regards the gazetted officers, the authority to take action lies with the Home Department, he added.
Punjab’s Director (Vigilance) G Nageshwar Rao said that investigations were on to ascertain the involvement of some of the police officials in this case. The progress, however, has been hampered as ASI Sanjeev Kumar, who is an accused in this case, has absconded.
The departmental inquiry, conducted by IG (Modernisation-cum-IT&T) SK Asthana, prime facie found that a total of Rs 28 lakh was allegedly paid to an IT & T Wing ASI Sanjeev Kumar by the six illegally recruited constables, namely Anmol Chabba, Harjit Sharma, Achhar Chand, Gurjant Singh, Davinder Kumar and Jatinder Kumar. ASI Sanjeev Kumar could not be contacted for his comments.
During the inquiry, however, Sanjeev Kumar levelled serious allegations regarding transactions involving AIG Malvinder Singh Sidhu and also informed the inquiry officer that he purchased one almirah, a cricket kit stand and one shoe rack cabinet for a senior Home Department officer allegedly on the instructions of the AIG. Kumar had submitted audio recordings of telephonic conversations between him and Sidhu regarding some of the transactions which are also being investigated.
While observing that the version put forth by Sanjeev Kumar was doubtful because none of the six “illegally and fraudulently” recruited constables ever met AIG Sidhu, IG (Modernisation-cum-IT&T) Asthana concluded that “the act and conduct of Malvinder Singh Sidhu
who has been posted as AIG (Administration, IT &T), has not been up to the mark”.
In his report, IG Asthana recommended that the version put forth by Sanjeev Kumar with regard to illegal and fraudulent recruitments, particularly, his allegation that all this was done on the asking of AIG Malvinder Singh Sidhu and payment of Rs 26 lakh was made to him needed to be thoroughly investigated. The IG has also recommended nominating Reserve Inspector Surinder Singh and Inspector Sukhvir Singh as accused in the criminal case being probed by the State Vigilance Bureau.

No involvement; some officers inimical: Sidhu

“I have no role in this entire episode. When these recruitments were made, I was not posted in the IT&T department. In fact, I was the one who exposed this scam and brought it to the notice of senior department officers. The action against me has been initiated at the behest of some of the senior officers who don’t want to see me as an IPS officer. I am the seniormost officer in the PPS category to be considered for induction into the IPS and some of the officers may not like me to be inducted into the IPS.”

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