VB issues look-out circular against 2 ex-ministers, 3 former IAS officers
The Punjab VB will probe the role of former ministers, former chief secretary, and former irrigation secretaries for their alleged role in omission and commission of the scam
The Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) has issued a look-out circular (LOC) against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders and ex-ministers and three former IAS officers in the alleged ₹1,000-crore irrigation scam after a getting a nod from chief minister Bhagwant Mann, people familiar with the development said.
The VB will probe the role of former ministers, former chief secretary, and former irrigation secretaries for their alleged role in omission and commission of the scam. Confirming the development, chief director, VB, Varinder Kumar said: “The bureau has got the permission under Section 17-A of the Prevention of Corruption Act to probe against officials and politicians. The VB has resumed the probe and issued look-out circulars.” He refused to divulge more details.
A look-out circular is issued to make sure that an individual who is absconding or wanted by the law enforcement agencies is not able to leave the country. It is mostly used at immigration checkpoints at international airports and seaports by the immigration branch.
Officials said the CM gave the approval after chief secretary VK Januja moved the file for allowing the VB to further probe against the IAS officers and ex-ministers.
The file was moved during the tenure of former CM Captain Amarinder Singh, but he reportedly didn’t accord the approval to the VB to probe the role of IAS officers, while the file of politicians kept hanging fire in the office of the then parliamentary affairs minister. The Charanjit Singh Channi-led government also didn’t give the approval for the VB to probe in the case.
The VB had presented a six-page summary of the investigation along with listing the evidence and statements against the officials and politicians in the scam.
The CM, who holds the portfolio of the vigilance department, has approved the proposal containing a dossier on alleged corruption done by politicians and bureaucrats during the Akali regime, confirmed officials at the chief minister’s office, who are privy to the development.
According to the Section 17(A) of the PC Act, which is inserted in the Act after the 2018 amendment “there is a need to take pre-approval from the state government for inquiry or investigation of offences related to recommendations made or decisions taken by public servant(s) in discharge of official functions or duty”.
As per the dossier, the VB has named politicians and officials for taking bribes for allotting works to the tune of ₹1,200 crore by tailor-made tenders to Gurinder Singh Bhapa, the contractor and kingpin of the scam. He was arrested in 2017 and had mentioned several persons, listing how much bribe was given to whom, including irrigation minister and secretaries of that time.
The officials and politicians had denied the charges.