In a major breakthrough in the border area grants scam, the vigilance bureau searched the residence of Sarabdyal Singh, the on-the-run personal assistant of former animal husbandry minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, on Friday evening and claimed to have recovered nine cheques worth Rs 10 lakh issued by the administration in the name of some gram panchayats of Attari constituency between 2008 and 2011.
After procuring the search warrants, VB officials broke the locks of Sarabdyal's residence in Rani Ka Bagh here and conducted a search. Apart from the nine cheques, which were not encashed, they seized some US and Singapore currency notes and about 20 applications for arms licences.
Simultaneously, the VB also searched the residence of Sarabdyal's relative Harjit Singh in Azad Nagar and seized some stamps of sarpanches. This house was also found locked.
Vigilance officials said they had also got the details of some properties in Sarabdyal's name.
Government documents revealed that Sarabdyal's house in Rani Ka Bagh had been purchased for Rs 55 lakh a couple of years ago. However, the original value of the house at the time of its purchase was about Rs 1 crore. VB sources said Sarabdyal also had a stake in a private school.
The VB has also examined the bank account details of Sarabdyal and his wife and found that transactions running into lakhs were made in the past few years.
Confirming the details, a senior VB official said on condition of anonymity, "Definitely, we have made major recoveries and efforts are on to nab Sarabdyal."
Sarabdyal, along with a few others, was booked in June for embezzling grants worth Rs 1.15 crore by encashing 12 cheques meant for development works in Attari constituency.
After HT exposed the scam, Ranike, the Attari MLA, was made to resign as minister.