iconimg Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times
Patiala, November 16, 2012
After registration of an FIR in the Patiala land scam, all accused, including IAS officer Vikas Garg, have gone underground. Vigilance Bureau, which on Thursday night and Friday morning conducted raids at the houses of those named in the FIR, has failed to nab anyone.
"We conducted raids in Panchkula, Chandigarh, Patiala, Sangrur and other places, but all accused are absconding. Now, we will conduct raids at their prospective hideouts," said Pritam Singh, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Patiala range.

Besides Garg-who was once considered close to the Badals as he belongs to their home district Muktsar-others booked in the case are former district revenue officer (DRO) Rajbir Singh, former naib tehsilar Gurinder Singh Walia, ex-kanungo Pritpal Singh, ex-patwari Suresh Kumar, NP Singh, Yashpal Aggarwal, Davinder Singh Sandhu, Ravdeep Singh and Jaswant Singh.

All have been booked under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, and also under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988. The scam involved public land measuring around 6,000 sq yards that houses five government offices.

The case was registered on the directions of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had marked a VB probe on the basis of a report by the then divisional commissioner SR Ladhar that had indicted the officials. The VB was tasked with probing the role of the private 'buyers' and 'sellers'. As for the government officials, Ladhar's report was upheld by the financial commissioner (revenue), revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia and the VB itself.

Meanwhile, the accused patwari and kanungo have filed a bail plea in the court of additional sessions judge NS Gill. The bail application will come up for hearing on Monday.