Chandigarh projects under scanner after graft case against ex-official

July 19th, 2010 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS  

By Jaideep Sarin
Chandigarh, July 19 (IANS) The stink around mega projects worth millions of rupees has become worse with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registering a corruption case against an army officer who served as an aide of a former Chandigarh administrator.

The officer amassed assets worth over Rs.93 million in just two years of his controversial tenure as aide-de-camp (ADC) to previous Punjab governor and Chandigarh administrator S.F. Rodrigues.

Nirvikar Singh, a major in the army is now serving the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s external intelligence agency, in the cabinet secretariat in New Delhi.

He is in the eye of the storm after the CBI booked him, his mother and brother under the Prevention of Corruption Act and abetment (to corruption) under the Indian Penal Code.

Singh has been accused by the CBI of amassing assets, in his and his family members’ names, to the tune of over Rs.93 million from 2007-09 - a clear 216 times their known sources of income. He served as the ADC to the Punjab governor between 2005-09.

Singh’s list of assets in the CBI’s first information report (FIR), a copy of which is with IANS, includes a penthouse in an upscale area of Gurgaon city in his own name, flats, plots and other commercial properties in the name of his mother Kiran Singh and brother Jagrut Singh in Gurgaon, New Delhi and other assets evaluated at nearly Rs.20 million.

The penthouse was bought in March 2009 for Rs.4.4 million.

Incidentally, the total earning of the army officer in the period 1995-2010 from salary and other sources was pegged by the CBI at just over Rs.4 million.

The gross income of his mother (1994-2010) was calculated at Rs. 13.7 million and that of his brother (2000-2010) at Rs.11.5 million.

The former ADC’s family members floated a company, Emerald Estates Private Limited, registered in New Delhi.

CBI sources said that several bank lockers of Singh and his family members have been sealed for further investigation.

Mega projects worth several millions of rupees in Chandigarh were allotted during the tenure of Rodrigues between 2005 and 2009.

As ADC to Punjab governor, Singh controlled all appointments, including those meant for Rodrigues’ role as Chandigarh’s administrator.

Most of the big projects, including the film-city project, the amusement-cum-theme park project, phase II of the information technology (IT) park and others, are either being probed by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) or the CBI.

Singh was considered very close to Rodrigues, a former army chief. Not only was his tenure as ADC extended beyond the normal two years to four years, Rodrigues even wrote a recommendation letter to the central government, favouring Singh for another “out of regiment” assignment.

Rules were relaxed at various points of time, including by the army authorities, to enable Singh to proceed on deputation with a sensitive assignment with RAW despite not having served the army directly for the previous four years, said Raj Bhavan sources.

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