Former district revenue officer-cum-land acquisition collector (DRO-cum-LAC) of Panchkula, Naresh Kumar Sheokand, disbursed money to the tune of around Rs 50 crore to various people whose land was never acquired for any purpose, points out an inquiry report of Panchkula deputy commissioner.
Sheokand was DRO-cum-LAC in Panchkula from April 20, 2012 to March 3, 2014 and he is accused of committing irregularities in distribution of compensation in land acquisition cases.
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) undertook four-laning of national highway-73 stretch between Yamunanagar to Panchkula and the DRO Panchkula was appointed as competent authority for land acquisition under national Highways Act 1956. A sum of Rs 495 crore was deposited in the account of DRO-cum-LAC and project director, NHAI.
A total of five accounts in the name of DRO-cum-LAC were opened outside Panchkula district, at Jangpura (Delhi) branch of Punjab National Bank (PNB) during the tenure of Sheokand.
As per the inquiry report of Panchkula DC Vivek Atray, a cheque of Indusind Bank for Rs 20 crore signed by Sheokand was issued on January 1, 2013, for clearance to the Jangpura, Delhi, branch of PNB. However, due to insufficient balance, the cheque bounced. Sheokand issued another cheque on January 5 of Rs 19 crore and got it credited to the PNB account.
Amount to the tune of over Rs 40 crore meant for land acquisition matters was credited to the account at the Jangpura, Delhi, branch of PNB in three different transactions between December 27, 2013 and February 1, 2014.
The report reads :“As per the bank statement, the amount was disbursed to various bogus persons through bank accounts on different dates, whose land was never acquired for any purpose by LAC Panchkula. The bank statement issued by Jangpura, Delhi, branch of PNB contains names of people in whose accounts money was transferred in lieu of the acquired land at the behest of Naresh Kumar Sheokhand during his posting.”
The report also stated that an amount of over Rs 22 crore was received from NHAI on July 17, 2014 for compensation. The said amount is not traceable in the official records.
Based on the report, the government of Haryana placed Sheokhand under suspension on July 14.
Haryana vigilance bureau special investigation team (SIT) comprising DIG Rajinder Kumar, DSP Suresh Kumar, inspector Satyanarayan and also a chartered accountant Sanjay Kapoor, is already investigating the scam. The inquiry was started after the state health minister Anil Vij had flagged the issue after which the case was handed over to vigilance bureau on April 5.
The vigilance bureau team is checking the DRO office’s accounts for the last 6-7 years. They are also checking when and where the money, which was to be distributed among the land owners whose land was acquired, went.