Citrus council scam: Crime branch registers another FIR | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Citrus council scam: Crime branch registers another FIR

chandigarh Updated: Feb 06, 2014 10:56 IST
Sanjeev Verma

The Punjab Police crime branch on January 24 registered the second FIR (first information report) into the multi-crore scam in the state council for citrus and agri juicing for fictitious purchase and job work of around Rs 34.85 lakh from three Delhi and Jaipur firms and disappearance of items.

The information was revealed in a status report of more than 600 pages, submitted by Gurpreet Kaur Sapra, special secretary of the agriculture department, to the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday. After taking the report on record, the division bench headed by justice Hemant Gupta adjourned the case for the next hearing to April 28.

The FIR has been registered at the Mohali police station for cheating, forgery, stating forged documents as genuine and criminal conspiracy. The firms are Agrovision, based in New Delhi as well as Jaipur, and DS Tool and Vishwa Engineering Works, based in New Delhi, that made commercial transaction with the councils between 2006 and 2008. The firms had mentioned false value-added tax (VAT) numbers on the bills with an intention to misappropriate funds to the tune of Rs 34.85 lakh after managing a tender for fencing.

Dubious purchase of chemicals

On the basis of the special investigation teams' recommendations for looking into the dubious purchase of chemicals, pesticides and manures amounting to Rs 1.77 crore between 2006 and 2010, the state government had constituted a three-member inquiry committee headed by retired Punjab chief secretary SC Aggarwal. The committee, also looking into various other aspects, including officials' foreign tours, purchase of items without tenders and illegality in the recruitment of staff, has now sought six months' more time to submit its final report.

Misuse by councils' president

The state government has requested for the Centre's prosecution sanction against retired IAS officer RS Sandhu (then councils' president) and the request is pending with the department of personnel and training (DoPT). Sandhu had caused a loss of Rs 22 lakh to the exchequer by illegally using the drip irrigation system and planting citrus plants at his agriculture land in Hoshiarpur.

Liquor bills, HRA of CEO
Liquor bills submitted by then chief executive officer of the councils, VS Chimni, amounting to Rs 38,355 have been recovered from him. Chimni had submitted that he had incurred the expenditure on foreign delegates. Excess house rent allowance claimed by Chimni amounting to Rs 1.03 lakh has also been recovered from him.

Forgery by PIO

Gurpreet Singh Nain, then public information officer (PIO), has been dismissed for cheating, forgery and causing a huge loss to the state exchequer. He has spent nearly six months behind bars and the case is under progress in the SAS Nagar district court.

Rs 6.41-lakh fraud by V-P

The Punjab government has issued a chargesheet to IAS officer Himmat Singh, then vice-president of the council, for unauthorised expenditure amounting to Rs 6.41 lakh during the period he was on leave.

The case

A non-governmental organisation, Resurgence India, had filed a petition in the high court, seeking an investigation into the alleged scam of purchasing vermicompost and plants etc. in the four Punjab government-funded farm councils meant to encourage the farming of citrus fruits. The Punjab Police's crime wing had on February 3, 2011, lodged an FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act, cheating and forgery against Vikramjit Singh Chimni (chief executive officer), Ekam Singh Dhillon (senior manager), Gurpreet Singh Nain (assistant general manager), his wife Madhumita Nain, Seerat Dhillon, Navjot Singh, Rajinder Singh, Dr Vipin Kumar Saini, Uma Saini and Yogesh Dutta.