Punjab forest scam: Chargesheet filed against ex-minister Gilzian’s nephew - Hindustan Times
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Punjab forest scam: Chargesheet filed against ex-minister Gilzian’s nephew

By, Jalandhar
Oct 10, 2022 02:14 AM IST

The vigilance bureau has filed a chargesheet against former Punjab minister Sangat Singh Gilzian’s nephew Daljit Singh and two others in the alleged multi-crore forest scam; Gilzian, along with senior officials of the state forest department and some private contractors, are accused in the case.

The vigilance bureau has filed a chargesheet against former Punjab minister Sangat Singh Gilzian’s nephew Daljit Singh and two others in the alleged multi-crore forest scam.

Former Punjab minister Sangat Singh Gilzian’s nephew Daljit Singh have been chargesheeted in the alleged forest scam. (HT Photo)
Former Punjab minister Sangat Singh Gilzian’s nephew Daljit Singh have been chargesheeted in the alleged forest scam. (HT Photo)

Gilzian, along with senior officials of the state forest department and some private contractors, are accused in the case.

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The chargesheet against Daljit, contractor Nitin Bansal and middleman Binder Singh was recently filed in the court of additional and session judge, Mohali, Parminder Singh Grewal.

Daljit is presently out on bail while Nitin and Binder are in judicial custody. Hindustan Times made repeated attempts to contact Daljit but he remained incommunicado.

‘Purchased forest guards at inflated rates’

The chargesheet stated that Gilzian had called up all divisional forest officers of the state and asked them to purchase tree guards from Sachin Kumar, an aide of private contractor Harmohinder Singh, at an inflated rate of 2,800, of which they were to get a commission of 800 per every tree guard. Nearly 6.40 crore bribe was paid to Gilzian against the purchase of 80,000 tree guards.

The chargesheet further mentioned that Gilzian got IFS officer Amit Chauhan posted as divisional forest officer in Rupnagar. Illegal mining, to the tune of 40-50 crore, took place on 486 acres of forest land at Jindapur village, under his watch.

“Once Sangat Singh Gilzian became forest minister in 2021, he appointed Praveen Kumar the chief conservator of forests. As per Harmohidner, Daljit had sought 20 lakh from IFS officer Vishal Chauhan, another accused, to get him posted in Mohali district. Vishal told Harmohinder that he had 10 lakh and needed 10 lakh more so that he can pay Daljit for his posting. He got 10 lakh from Harmohinder and also promised to adjust borrowed 10 lakh in ongoing bribe for the cutting of trees to him by Harmohinder,” the chargesheet.

‘Minister had told officials his nephew will take care of his works’

The chargesheet claimed that Gilzian introduced Daljit to all forest department officials and told them that the latter will look after his work. Daljit confessed that his close aide, Vipul Sehgal, also an accused and still absconding, mooted the proposal to purchase tree guards at a higher rate and take 800 as commission. Following this, they discussed it with Praveen Kumar who called DFO Vishal Chauhan and directed him to buy tree guards from Vipul Sehgal.

“A construction firm, Mehtab Shanti Enterprises, owned by Nitin Bansal provided tree guards at higher rates while Binder Singh of Hisar in Haryana came in touch with Kartik Popli who told him that they need tree guards in large quantities. Binder Singh was offered 50 for each tree guard, and he approached Nitin Bansal to deliver the order of tree guards,” says chargesheet.

The vigilance also tracked the money trail in the payment of tree guards and how it reached Daljit via Binder Singh. The vigilance found that Amit Chauhan, in connivance with range officer Sukhwinder Singh, embezzled 52 lakh in the sale of tree guards. Moreover, Sangat Singh Gilzian and Parveen Kumar allegedly bypassed the set norms to issue transfer orders of 23 executive field officials in January this year after accepting money from them, said the bureau.

A case under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating), 465, 467, 468 (all forgery), 471 and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 7, 7 (A), 13 (1) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    A staff correspondent, based in Jalandhar covers Doaba Region of Punjab. Reports about Punjab Police, Enforcement Directorate, politics, corruption, legal, rural areas, socio-economic issues and technical education besides having specialisation in the investigative stories.

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