In a major setback to Punjab Infotech, the Punjab and Haryana high court directed it to pay an amount of Rs 4.05 crore to bidder Nirankar Singh, whose amount was forfeited after he failed to pay the balance amount for a 1.52-acre commercial site which was auctioned in 2011. The auction was later declared null and void.
Surprisingly, the then principal secretary, industries and commerce, Punjab, SS Channy, who conducted the inquiry into the lapse of auction that how officials gave Singh extra time to deposit the remaining amount, indicted senior officers of Punjab Infotech, who were members of the auction committee.
The report said due the lapse on part of the officers, Punjab Infotech suffered a loss of several crores. But, till date, no action had been initiated against any of the officers.
On July 29, 2011, Punjab Infotech held an auction of a 1.52-acre commercial site in Sector 67 with a reserve price of `32 crore and one Nirankar Singh of SAS Nagar bought it for `62 crore, defeating 13 bidders. Same day, he deposited `5 lakh as participation fee and `4.15 crore as earnest money.
Singh was asked to pay 10% of the initial amount, which came out to be `6.2 crore, and Punjab Infotech gave him two days to deposit the remaining amount.
As per norms, the auction committee was supposed to take the initial amount of `6.2 crore immediately after the auction.
Punjab Infotech later issued a show-cause notice to Singh, directing him to deposit the remaining amount, but he refused to pay.
In his reply, Singh had said as there was no development in the area, he was not interested in buying it and demanded refund of the partly paid initial amount.
Singh filed a writ petition in the high court demanding refund, and the court directed Punjab Infotech to refund his money after deducting `10 lakh. But, Punjab Infotech went for appeal before the double bench of high court, who recently dismissed the appeal and directed it to refund the amount to Singh.
However, when contacted, Madan Mohan Mittal, minister of industries and commerce, Punjab said, “I am not aware of the issue, but will look into the report and action will be initiated accordingly.”