The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recommended the registration of an FIR against 15 persons in a case of favouritism by the Punjab government to politically influential persons by acquiring their land (around 247 kanals) in Bathinda in 2010 at a very high price for a solid waste dumping yard.
The CBI submitted the inquiry report in a sealed cover to the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday during resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by residents of Mandi Khurd village in Bathinda district. The high court had on August 8, 2012, handed over the probe to the CBI office at Chandigarh.
Since there are a total of nine beneficiaries of the deal, there is every possibility that the CBI might have recommended the registration of case against government functionaries as well.
When the petitioners and the other parties requested the court to also hand over the CBI report to them, CBI's counsel Sumeet Goel objected to it, stating that it would hamper the prosecution agency's investigation. However, the division bench headed by chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, after going through the report, adjourned the case for further arguments to February 28.
The beneficiaries, who according to the petitioners were close to revenue and public relations minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia, include Khushdev Singh, former councillor of Khanna municipal council, and Yadvinder Singh, district president of the Ludhiana Youth Akali Dal.
Ludhiana resident Khushdev Singh, his wife Kamaljeet Kaur and brother Himmat Singh; Muktsar residents Kanwar Pal Singh, his wife Kirandeep Kaur, Balvinder Singh, Ludhiana resident Yadvinder Singh, wife Jasdeep and relative Surjeet Kaur had purchased 247 kanals and 6 marlas on the Bathinda-Mansa road in Rampura Phul.
Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Ramandeep Singh Pandher had submitted that the beneficiaries had jointly purchased land in Rampura Phul, around 33 km from Bathinda town, for around Rs. 1.59 crore in February 2010. But a few days later, the state government decided to acquire it for around Rs. 7 crore. A total of 294 kanals and 9 marlas were acquired for the project vide notification dated April 16, 2010, of which 247 kanals and 6 marlas belonged to the beneficiaries.
The court was informed that though there were also three suitable sites for the purpose, but the municipal corporation deliberately chose to acquire land showing favoritism to the beneficiaries.