‘Vandalism’ by Punjab Police, or negligence? Probe on
A day after Chandigarh Newsline reported how the sprawling corner bungalow in Sector 16 of Chandigarh was vandalised after it was vacated by former Punjab DGP P S Gill, chief engineer S K Chadha on Monday ordered a probe to inquire into whether it was a case of trespass by the Punjab Police Housing Corporation, which allegedly damaged the property while reclaiming fittings installed by it, or negligence of its own staff which was caught unawares by the "vandalism".
For nailing the culprit, the engineering department, which incidentally has its maintenance wing in Sector 16, needs a week. "We have set up a three-member committee to inquire into the matter. Work inspector Jagjit Kumar took the possession of the house when it was handed over to the department on November 1. It was his duty to inform the higher officials, in this case the SDO, if the property was trespassed or vandalised after possession. But before taking any action against Kumar, we will wait for the inquiry panel's report, which may take a week's time," Chadha said.
On likely action against the trespasser, the chief engineer said the property was handed over in proper condition on November 1. "In case, they (officials of Punjab Police Housing Corporation) trespassed and damaged the house after it was handed over, it is within our rights to take action and file an FIR for the damage. But all this will be clear only once we have the inquiry report with us," he added.
However, according to sources, the department wants to give a clean chit to higher officials — XEN, SDO and junior engineers and the Punjab Police Housing Corporation — by fixing the blame on the work inspector, a lower-rung official.
"How could a work inspector stop officers of Punjab Police Housing Corporation from entering the premises? Labour must have been hired to uproot high-security panels from the entire boundary wall, fittings from kitchen and bathrooms, and stone slabs and plants from lawns," said a junior officer of the engineering department on condition of anonymity. "Did all this escape the notice of officers at higher levels sitting in the same sector?"