Punjab | Vigilance unearths ₹4.8 crore ‘scam’ in land purchase
An FIR has been registered on the basis of the vigilance inquiry. The inquiry hinted at the role of former minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and his aides is also under scanner, vigilance officials revealed. The land purchased was used for compensatory plantation in lieu of deforestation in for various projects in the state.
The vigilance bureau has unearthed another “scam” involving the Punjab forest department, in which land was allegedly sold to the state government in September 1, 2020, at 10 times the collector rates, thereby causing the state exchequer loss to the tune of ₹4.8 crore.
An FIR has been registered on the basis of the vigilance inquiry. The inquiry hinted at the role of former minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and his aides is also under scanner, officials revealed. The land purchased was used for compensatory plantation in lieu of deforestation in for various projects in the state.
A committee, comprising Rupnagar forest range officer Amit Chauhan, Mohali regional manager Jugraj Singh, halka patwari Amarjit Singh as a representative SDM office in Anandpur Sahib, Noorpurbedi range officer Jaspal Singh, forest guards Narinder Singh and Rajesh Kumar, besides Rampal Singh Sarpanch Village Karura and Yugesh Kumar, was formed to inspect the land.
It was found that two private individuals Daljit Singh Bhinder and Amarinder Singh Bhinder had colluded with revenue officials and sold 54 acres to the Punjab forest corporation at ₹9.90 lakh per acre whereas the collector rate at the time was only ₹90,000 per acre. Thus,the state exchequer incurred a loss of about ₹4.8 crore.
“The committee members are also under scanner and it has come to fore that the land was purchased from farmers, and then sold to the government at higher rates. Only a person privy to the purchase of land for government could make such a move, thus the role of the ex-minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot is also under scanner,” said a vigilance bureau official.
The 54 acres of land under investigation include hills, drain, gorge, dune etc. at Karura village, Anandpur Sahib, and in the name of the village habitants. The Punjab state forest corporation, Mohali, had proposed to buy this land for tree plantations, he added.
Naib tehsildar arrested
Meanwhile, the vigilance bureau has arrested naib tehsildar Raghbir Singh, posted at Anandpur Sahib, who had allegedly registered land measuring about 54 acres in Karura village of Rupnagar district, in connivance with some private individuals.
The spokesperson of Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) said a case in regard had already been registered in June, against the above-mentioned naib tehsildar and other persons at Nurpurbedi police station, Rupnagar, under Section 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 of IPC and Sections 7, 7A, 8, 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act which. During investigation, it has come to light that the land sold to the corporation is only about 46 acres, though the registry mentioned 54 acres. It was also found from the documents that naib tehsildar Raghbir Singh went outside his jurisdiction to Nurpurbedi tehsil for registry of this land and registered the vasika on September 1, 2020.
He informed that after the preliminary investigation, the vigilance has arrested the accused Raghbir Singh and efforts are on to arrest the other accused.