Three weeks after Punjab Police registered a case against a patwari (a junior revenue official) and five others in an NRI-land-grab case at Ranian village near Moga, they claim that the official is still “on the run”.
Even the revenue department has failed to initiate action against patwari Sukhjinder Singh, who in an inquiry was held guilty of tampering with the land ownership record. The patwari and three others are still wanted for further investigations and legal proceedings in the case in which the officers of the Moga NRI (non-resident Indian) police station have arrested only one man, Mohinder Singh of Lalito village, so far.
Another accused Kuldeep Singh, who boasts of closeness to Moga’s Akali minister Tota Singh, had secured anticipatory bail after the first-information report (FIR) had been registered. “Raids are on to catch them,” station house officer (SHO) Naveen Kumar of the Moga NRI police station told HT on telephone.
“The accused had prepared fake documents and false girdawris (revenue survey papers) of the 9-acre agricultural land of Canada-based NRI Nirmal Singh Sidhu with the patwari’s help,” states the FIR.
Asked about the case status, Moga district revenue officer (DRO) Savita claimed she was unaware.
Asked whether the patwari was still on the job or on a leave of absence, the DRO said she would find out. She could not even confirm whether or not the police had approached the revenue department for his arrest.
In his inquiry report, Moga additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Arvindpal Singh had held the patwari guilty of knocking out of the papers the name of NRI Nirmal Singh and replacing it fraudulently with that of Mohinder Singh, who is under arrest in the case.
“The revenue record suggests that aggrieved NRI Nirmal Singh has been leasing out his land for cultivation to different contractors since 2010,” stated the ADC’s report of November 25. The inquiry came after principal secretary for NRI affairs Sanjay Kumar refereed the matter to the Moga deputy commissioner. Earlier, Nirmal and two other expatriates had claimed during a press conference in Chandigarh that the lands of many NRIs in the state were under grab.
“My task is over with submitting the inquiry report to the government. Now it is up to the government to take appropriate action,” said ADC Arvindpal Singh. Toronto-based Nirmal Singh, who is back in India in less than four months to protect his land, had earlier raised a hue and cry at the NRI police wing headquarters of inspector general Gurpreet Deo in Sas Nagar.
The IG’s intervening had led to a preliminary inquiry by the Moga SSP, following which the FIR was registered last month finally.