Allegations of widespread corruption in HP trigger demand for Investigation

Shimla, May 22,
Former Deputy Advocate General Vinay Sharma and senior counsel of Himachal Pradesh High court has urged the Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu that a probe should be instituted against two senior IAS officers, against whom an anonymous complaint was allegedly filled to Prime Minister office seeking probe by the CBI in corruption matters and transaction of hawala kick back pertaining to a power project.

Link of social media post by the advocate:

Sharma, advocate in a facebook post stated that such allegations would tarnish the clean image of Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu who adopted the zero tolerance against corruption.

Sharma said that Chief minister had been given clearance signal when he nipped the evil from bud, after winding up Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission, soon after formation of the government. However such public letters need to be verified neutrally by the state government. “Moreover, the State government should bar such officers from performing their duty unless clean chit would not given to them,” he added.
Pertinent to mention that a complaint letter addressed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi (copy with Himachalscape) had raised serious allegations of corruption within the Energy Department of Himachal Pradesh. The letter, penned by an anonymous whistle blower, who claims to be working in the H.P Secretariat, highlights the purported involvement of two senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, Vivek Bhatia and Harikesh Meena, in various acts of misconduct and corruption.

Notably, since complainant is anonymous, the facts quoted in the letter could not be verified.
According to the complaint, one of the key issues raised is the ongoing construction of the 450 MW Shongtong Power Project in Kinnaur District. Initiated in 2012 under the supervision of the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL), the project has suffered significant delays and escalating costs. The letter alleges that Bhatia and Meena, are exploiting their positions, engaged in corrupt practices related to the project.
The whistle blower claims to have witnessed employees of M/s Patel Engineering Limited being summoned to the Chief Minister’s office, where they were subjected to undue pressure. Additionally, it is alleged that the appointment of Harikesh Meena as Managing Director of HPPCL was conditioned on facilitating corruption through M/s Patel Engineering Company.
Furthermore, the complaint raises concerns about the removal of a female IAS officer from the position of Special Secretary, Energy Department. He alleges that this action was orchestrated by Bhatia and Meena to ensure the unhindered execution of their corruption scheme. It is revealed that the female officer had also lodged a complaint against Bhatia for harassment, which is reportedly pending in the Chief Minister’s Office.

It is alleged that a significant sum of money, totaling INR 25 crores, was involved, with Bhatia personally benefiting from INR 2 crores. Meena was subsequently appointed as the interim Managing Director of the Electricity Board, purportedly to facilitate corruption without interference.

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The whistleblower, expressing concern for the well-being of the people of Himachal Pradesh, has called for an impartial investigation into these allegations. The complaint urges the Prime Minister to initiate a probe by the Central Investigation Agency, urging strong action against those involved.
Now it remains to be seen how the Prime Minister’s and the Chief minister’s office will respond to the complaint and whether an investigation will be launched to address the allegations of corruption.



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