Sikkim Vigilance Police investigates Officials of Commerce& Industries Dept
Gangtok, July 7: The Sikkim Vigilance Police has registered prima facie case against the higher officials of Commerce and Industries Department and other seven private companies/NGOs with an allegation of siphoning state government’s aided fund of Rs. 1.25 crore. The sum was sanctioned for the socio economic development of ST and SC candidates by imparting capacity building training under Tribal Sub-Plan and Scheduled Class Sub-Plan of Social Justice Empowerment and Welfare Department for the year 2009-10. This is the second case that Sikkim Vigilance Police has registered that concerns siphoning of state government’s exchequer in the year 2011.
Sources informed that the then Director of Commerce and Industries Department, Assistant Director and seven others involved companies i.e., M/s Vision Sikkim Industries Pvt. Ltd., M/s Sikkim Motor Training and Engineering Institute., Scheduled Caste Entrepreneurs Service Co-operative Society, Prayas Marketing & Services Co-operative Society Ltd., Sikkim Damai Samaj, Daedal (P) Ltd., M/s Sikkim Food Processing Industries and M/s Deorali Varieties after entering into a criminal conspiracy jointly manipulated fund sanctioned for the aforementioned capacity building programme in the name of training. Accordingly a sum of Rs. 85.80 Lakhs was allocated for head office, Gangtok, Rs. 20 Lakhs for District Industries Centre, North & East, Gangtok and Rs. 19.20 Lakhs for District Industries Centre, South & West.
It has been alleged that the accused Assistant Director, Commerce and Industries Department processed without scrutinizing the said proposals for approval, including advance payment to the private parties, though they has not requested for any advance payments in their proposal. On the other hand, the fields in which the proposed training was to be imparted were not identified by the Department but left to the discretion of the seven accused persons who submitted proposals. Also the number of candidates who would be available to attend the training in each discipline as proposed by the seven parties was not ascertained and the most importantly, notice inviting tender was not published. Again, the officials dishonestly concealed the fact that the tenders had not been invited and the proposals processed for approval were taken from parties picked up by them. It was alleged, they also concealed the fact that funds involved projected in those proposal had not been scrutinized, and that the infrastructural and other facilities available with the parties whose proposals were recommended were not verified. On receipt of the government approval of the programme, the alleged higher officials paid the full amount in advance to the respective private parties without the specific concurrence to effect from Finance department as required by the Sikkim Finance Rule.
Source informed, M/s Vision Sikkim Industries Pvt. Ltd submitted proposal for imparting four months training in organic Food and Science and Technology for 15 ST candidates and 10 SC candidates at a total cost of Rs. 12.40 Lakhs. The same company also submitted another proposal on behalf of M/s Sikkim Motor Training and Engineering Institute a proposal of four months training of 15 ST candidates in production of fibre and earthen pot souvenir at a cost of Rs. 8.80 Lakhs. It has been learnt that M/s Vision Sikkim Industries Pvt. Ltd did not have any experience in food service and technology and they conducted non quality training, that too to a few candidates as against 25 candidates. Similarly, M/s Sikkim Motor Training and Engineering Institute has no previous experience in production of fibre and earthen pot and they imparted name sake training to only 7 candidates as against 15 candidates.
Scheduled Caste Entrepreneurs Service Co-operative Society had submitted proposal for four months training in Tally accounting software for 20 SC candidates at a cost of Rs. 7, 60,200 but spent only about Rs. 1.60 against the sanctioned amount.
Again, Prayas Marketing & Services Co-operative Society Ltd submitted a proposal for imparting 3 months training for 20 ST candidates on commercial art & banner making at a cost of Rs. 4.35 Lakhs. In turn, the company outsourced their training programme to one Citi Computers under a 2 months package (without examination or certificate) at the rate of Rs. 1, 600 per candidate.
Sikkim Damai Samaj submitted a proposal for conducting training to 20 SC candidates in Cutting & Tailoring at a cost of Rs. 3.00 Lahks. Here it is alleged that the concerned Samaj do not have minimum infrastructure and have spend around mere Rs. 1 Lakhs against the sanctioned sum.
Daedal (P) Ltd has submitted a proposal for conducting four months professional certificate course in Independent Film making and Production methodology for 20 ST/SC candidates at a total cost of Rs. 16.80 Lakhs but did not provided fooding and lodging as well as training in full course projected.
Similarly, M/s Sikkim Food Processing Industries had submitted a proposal for conducting four months professional training course in specialization of making meat products, confectionaries, bakery and fast food item for 20 ST/SC candidates at a cost of Rs. 12.80 Lakhs. However, only 14 candidates were trained and the trainees were not provided food and accommodation though the advance payment received by the Firm includes fund for food and accommodation.
Also, M/s Deorali Varieties did not provide food and lodging to the candidates, and they imparted training to only 18 candidates as against the advance payment of Rs. 19.60 Lakhs received by them for 20 candidates.
It has been alleged that the then Director and Assistant Director of the Commerce and Industries Department refrained from monitoring the training programmes with the dishonest intention of causing undue pecuniary advantage to the accused private companies. Sources further speaks that the fraudulent and dishonest acts and omissions of the accused person, carried out in pursuance of the criminal conspiracy caused undue peculiarly advantage to the involved companies to the tune of over Rs. 24 Lakhs and corresponding loss to the state exchequer.
Meanwhile, The Sikkim Vigilance Police had registered case as under section 13 (2) r/w 13 (1) (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act/sec420 r/w 120–B IPC on offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating and causing undue peculiarly advantage against all involved accused. The case is under investigation at present.