Cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike might have resigned, taking the moral high ground, but the main accused in the rural grants scam - his personal assistant (PA) Sarbhdyal Singh is yet to be arrested. Sarbhdyal is accused of playing a key role in embezzling more than Rs 1.15 crore in the name of grants for villages.
Three persons have been arrested in the case so far -bank manager Om Parkash and conduits Amit Kumar and Baljit Singh.
Amritsar SSP (rural) Pritpal Singh Virk, who was handed over the entire record of the case to "look into Sarbhdyal's plea for FIR cancellation", told HT that he did not possess the case file any more.
HT had reported that the investigation was shifted from the special investigation team (SIT) to the SSP (rural) on the orders of director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini.
Virk claimed that the case record was now with the Amritsar civil lines police station.
After a lookout circular (LOC) on Saturday in an effort to stop Sarbhdyal from leaving the country, The police also conducted raids on the intervening night of September 15 and 16 after a tip-off, but to no avail. Virk said, "We got information late on Saturday night that Sarbhdyal was somewhere in the city. We rounded up one of his closest friends."
No communiqué to VB
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) is yet to receive any official communiqué from the DGP or the chief secretary to probe the two cases in the rural grants scam. Two FIRs have been registered in this regard so far (May 2011 and June 2012). Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had announced to shift the cases for a "fair probe in a transparent manner" from the Punjab police to the VB.
When contacted, VB chief director Suresh Arora, said he was yet to get any communique from the government in this regard.
NGO to move high court
Patiala: The Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), and NGO which has already lodged a complaint with the chief minister regarding registration of FIR against Ranike, has now vowed to approach the Punjab and Haryana high court to demand a CBI probe. "We welcome Ranike's resignation from cabinet. Now, the CM must hand over the probe to the CBI or a sitting high court judge, as our independent investigation clearly shows that Ranike is behind entire scam. If the CM fails, we will approach the HC next week," said Justice (retd) Ajit Singh Bains, chairman, PHRO.