The Lokpal has ordered a CBI inquiry into a case in which a post office in Gurgaon, despite an alert by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), had handed over nearly 130 kg of “contraband” items to a man who came over to collect them.
The inquiry was ordered after two postmen, who were suspended and later re-instated in the case, complained to the Lokpal that if certain senior officers of the department “had acted promptly” and sent out an alert in the matter, the delivery could have been put on hold, sources said.
Considering the allegations “very serious and disturbing”, the Lokpal had, on July 17 last, referred the case to Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) “for causing a preliminary inquiry” through the CBI by August 31.
However, sources said, the inquiry is yet to be completed. The Lokpal’s order stated that these allegations “touch upon the security of the nation apart from having global and international ramifications”.
On February 4, The Indian Express had reported that the items had arrived in 13 packets from Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, and were meant for a Gurgaon-based recipient. The DRI had sent an alert on January 20 to the office of the Chief Postmaster General (CPMG), Haryana Circle, Ambala, to hold those items as they contained suspected “contraband”. However, the items were still delivered to a person who came to collect them from the post office.
While the Department of Posts had suspended two postmen in the matter, both are learnt to have approached the Lokpal alleging that some other officials “withheld information originating from the DRI, Delhi, regarding the delivery of contraband packets by not populating the DRI alert in the DPMS (Delivery and Postman Management System) software”.
In its order, the Lokpal said, “The alleged lack of response to the alert by the DRI is shocking, to say the least, and cannot be ignored.”
The complainants had requested that “a thorough inquiry be initiated” from an independent agency in the matter, sources said.
On inquiry not being completed yet, a source told The Indian Express, “Generally, in such references, the CVC seeks an extension for inquiry.”
Officials from both CBI and CVC declined to comment on the matter.
In this issue, the CPMG, based on DRI’s alert, had directed Om Prakash, Assistant Superintendent of Posts (ASP), Gurgaon, to “hold the delivery of 13 Speed Post articles and return these articles to FPO (Foreign Post Office), Delhi.” However, the CPMG office was told on January 24 that “these articles have been delivered through NDC (Nodal Delivery Centre), Gurugram, on January 23, 2023”.
The two postmen, Pramod Kumar and Bikku Kumar, who had allegedly handed over the items to a man who showed up at the post office to claim them, were learnt to have been summoned by the DRI to appear before its Delhi Zonal Unit. They were later placed under suspension, which has now been revoked.