The vigilance bureau (VB) have arrested five more persons in connection with the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) fund scam and the embezzlement of funds from discretionary grants of former cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, who represents the Attari constituency in Amritsar district. The total number of arrests has now gone up to 16.
As per the VB, those arrested have been identified as Major Singh, Kulwant Singh, Darshan Singh, Harjit Singh and Narwail Singh. The main accused, Sarbhdyal Singh, Ranike's former personal assistant (PA), is on the run.
Opinderjit Singh Ghuman, senior superintendent of police (SSP), VB, said, "These persons, in connivance with Sarbhdyal, gave their photographs to get accounts opened on the basis of fake documents; later, they withdrew grants. They all went to the banks for the purpose. A large part of the money was given to Sarbhdyal, but these persons also received their share."
"Accounts were not opened in the name(s) of the accused, but their photos were used," the SSP added.
He said, "Major furnished his photo to get opened an account in the name of one Tarsem Singh in ICICI Bank. Later, Rs 1-lakh grant was withdrawn from the account and given to Sarbhdyal. Major also received some money."
Ghuman stated that Kulwant also gave his photo to the bank to get opened an account in the name of one Amrik Singh. From this account, Rs 2 lakh were withdrawn.
The other accused Darshan, Harjit and Nirwail received grant cheques from Sarbhdyal in the name of sports clubs; after encashing the money, it was given to Sarbhdyal. A total of Rs 9 lakh was embezzled in the name of such clubs. The trio also received their share once the money was withdrawn. Among them, only Darshan opened a bank account in his own name. He also acted as the witness for opening five accounts.
The VB had recently raided the house of a relative of Sarabdyal and found fake rubber stamps of sports clubs.
Replying to a question, Ghuman said, "The investigations so far have revealed that Harjit and Kulwant were involved both in the BADP fund scam as well as the embezzlement from discretionary funds. The other three were involved in embezzlement from discretionary funds."