The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday directed the Centre to produce the prosecution sanction record of Punjab IAS officer Mandeep Singh in the 909-panchayat secretaries' recruitment scam during the SAD-BJP rule between 1997 and 2002.
The court headed by justice Rajiv Narain Raina also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file its reply on Punjab's forest and wildlife department secretary Mandeep Singh's petition, challenging his prosecution sanction by the Centre "without application of mind".
In this case, former Punjab assembly speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon and former IAS officer JS Kesar are also accused along with 12 others. Kahlon was the rural development and panchayats minister at the time of recruitment, Kesar was then principal secretary and Mandeep Singh was director of the department.
The case was registered in June 2003 for alleged irregularities in the selection on the statement of the then director (rural development and panchayats) on charges of corruption, forgery and abuse of official position against all the accused.
The case was later transferred to the CBI that found that money had exchanged hands during the selection process and the officials took an extra interest in the selection process without following the guidelines.
Earlier, the Punjab government had declined prosecution sanction against officials in the case, but in September 2010 the union department of personnel and training had granted prosecution sanction in Mandeep Singh's case under the Prevention of Corruption Act. For the time being, the trial of the case in the special CBI court, Patiala, has been stayed by the high court.
The CBI had filed a chargesheet in the case in the Patiala special CBI court in 2010 that included names of Kahlon, Mandeep Singh and 10 block development and panchayat officers.
The case will come up for hearing on September 9.