Termed the kingpin of the alleged Rs 250-crore Patiala land scam, naib tehsildar GS Walia, has got into fresh trouble. The vigilance bureau (VB) has accused him of causing a loss of Rs 34 lakh to the state exchequer by registering non-agricultural land as agricultural land. The bureau raided his house to arrest him on Sunday morning, but he was not there, sources said.
The case pertains to February 29, 2012, when Walia signed a sale registration deed of more than 2 kanals presently used by Cheteshwar Motors on Jhill Road of Patiala. The land - shifted from the name of the firm to one of the owners, Mandeep Singh -- was said to be worth Rs 6 crore, but the registration was done as per Rs 2 crore. "Jhill Road is a commercial road but Walia showed the land as agricultural to decrease the government registration price, causing a loss of Rs 34 lakh," VB deputy superintendent of police (DSP) KD Sharma said.
Jhill Road is an approved commercial road. "But Walia used the code 0002 meant for registration of agricultural land. Ideally he should have used 0414 meant for commercial land as per registry rules of Punjab," the vigilance official said.
The bureau has booked Walia, already suspended after the Patiala land scam, on the charges of criminal breach of trust by a public servant, fraud, forgery and various other charges. His house was raided by VB early Sunday morning but he was not present in the house. The team searched the house for more than four hours and obtained some vital documents relating to the case, which has been registered after directions from the VB director.
The bureau is also in search of the registry clerk who was present on the day of the deed execution.
The matter had come to light when one of the firm owners filed a complaint with the district administration about the fraud, and the then divisional commissioner, SR Ladhar, after a probe by the SDM of Samana, recommended further action.
Walia is not new to scams. He allegedly executed the wrong sale deed of a government property in Patiala by declaring it a private, and was suspended by the state government along with the then Patiala deputy commissioner Vikas Garg and three other officials. When he was posted in Barnala a few years ago, there too he allegedly executed the registry of a non-agricultural land as agricultural land.