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Embezzlement in Meter replacement: Shimla, Dec 15
Taking cognizance into a petition, Himachal Pradesh High court sought reply from Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board on alleged embezzlement in Electronic meter replacement tendering process. Demanding to register a criminal case against the culprits and  investigate the matter by constituting a special investigation team (SIT) a petition was moved before HP high court recently. Division bench of Chief Justice A A Syed and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua issued this order after hearing a public interest litigation filed by Chattar Singh, a resident of Paonta Sahib District Sirmaur on Wednesday.
Seeking reply in ten days the High Court has issued orders  to file clarification in the case related to the alleged embezzlement in the board funds by the officials for arbitrarily allotting various contracts to private firm.
The petitioner has alleged that the officials have caused huge loss of revenue to board, in awarding installation or replacement work of new meters. Petitioner accused shortlisting of selective contractors who were paid exorbitant charges for the work. The petitioner contended before the court that he being a retired electricity board employee, is aware of the performance of the top officials of the board.
It has been alleged in the petition that the tenders were allotted on March 12, 2018, to install new meters. The job for replacing one meter was fixed at Rs 2360 per meter and 5200 meters were  replaced in Phase II and 546 meters of Phase-III.  Rupees 1 crore 27 lakh rupees were spent on the work. The same work was allotted at 200 times in Sirmaur district as compared to Kinnaur district. Replacement of a meter was charged at the rate of  Rs 212 per meter in Kinnaur, compared to same work at Rs 2360  in Sirmaur district.
Similarly, the same work in Solan district, was allotted at Rs 441 per meter which were handed over to different firms.  The petitioner also blamed  ‘Chief Engineer SN Upreeti, former OSD to former Power Minister for involving in disbursement of huge amount of contract in Sirmaur district to one M/s Kaushal electrical.
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Petitioner alleged that similar scams of replacement of faulty meter worth crores of rupees  continue in board since 2008 should be probed by a SIT so that free and fair inquiry should be conducted against the erring officers and employees who rendered huge loss to public exchequer of the board.


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