Highway scam: Second chargesheet mentions whistleblower, NHAI officials as beneficiaries
The Haryana vigilance bureau has disclosed to the court that as per the disclosure statement of the accused in the Rs 48-crore National Highways Authority of India scam, beneficiaries included whistleblower, an officer at par with district revenue officer, NHAI officials and private individuals, who were ineligible for land compensation payments.india Updated: Aug 12, 2016 13:47 IST
The Haryana vigilance bureau has disclosed to the court that as per the disclosure statement of the accused in the Rs 48-crore National Highways Authority of India scam, beneficiaries included whistleblower, an officer at par with district revenue officer, NHAI officials and private individuals, who were ineligible for land compensation payments.
The accused opened multiple accounts in Delhi. Land compensation money was diverted in these and reverted to original accounts without interest.
The second chargesheet against the two other accused, former Panchkula DRO Naresh Sheokand and his alleged tout Chandershekhar, suggests where the money went, but investigation is pending in this regard.
Chandershekhar was allegedly the messenger for Sheokand in Delhi and was a part of the dealings. The chargesheet against Sheokand and Chandershekhar claimed that according to Chandershekhar’s disclosure statement, Rs 50 lakh went to a former Panchkula DRO and Rs 28 lakh to another DRO, who was the whistleblower in the case. Both DROs are serving with the Haryana government. The chargesheet claims that it was disclosed that Rs 5 lakh was paid through cheque that the man collected from a Sector-8 branch of Punjab National Bank. Besides payments to DROs, the sums of Rs 50 lakh Rs 10 lakh were paid to NHAI officials. They have not been chargesheeted for the same as investigation is pending.
The chargesheet also mentions Shamshad, Madhu Aggarwal, Dhanush Aggarwal, Surbhi Aggarwal, Banke Bihari Lal Aggarwal, Ramit Ahuja, Amit Ahuja, Ashok Ahuja, Pritam Ahuja, Gopal Kwatra, Mayank Kwatra, Shashi Vasan, Urmila, Devendra Singh and Ramrati who still need to be interrogated.
The state government has sent a reference to the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the case because it involves inter-state ramifications. The investigating agency is yet to take a decision in this regard.
According to the vigilance report, in 2012, when Sheokand was posted as DRO Panchkula, the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) and NHAI acquired land in the district. To disburse money to landowners, HSIIDC opened an account with IndusInd Bank, Panchkula, and another with HDFC Bank, Barwala. These accounts, opened in the name of the DRO had Rs 203.5 crore in them.
Sheokand, however, also opened an account with PNB’s Jangpura Extension branch in New Delhi on December 26, 2012. It was in the name of DRO-cum-LAC (land acquisition collector), Panchkula.
Five days later, Sheokand issued the first cheque, seeking a transfer of Rs 20 crore from IndusInd Bank to the Jangpura PNB branch. The transfer was declined due to the insufficiency of funds. But he tried once again, this time issuing a cheque of Rs 19 crore on January 5, 2013.
Apart from these accounts, Sheokand had opened another account with PNB in Sector 8, Panchkula, on December 27, 2012. From the Rs 19 crore transferred to the Jangpura branch, he transferred Rs 1 crore to this account and gave away the rest as ‘compensation’ for land, only that the beneficiaries were not real ones. At that time, the HSIIDC stood at a loss of Rs 18 crore.
HSIIDC compensated at NHAI’s cost
The NHAI, which wanted to compensate landowners for the Panchkula-Yamunangar highway in 2012, had also opened a joint account in the name of DRO-cum-LAC (Sheokand’s name) and project director NHAI, at the Sector-8 PNB branch. This account contained more than Rs 500 crore - Rs 495 crore deposited on March 28, 2013, and Rs 6.58 crore on June 6, 2013. Now this is where PNB manager Bhim Singh came into play.
On March 30, 2013, Bhim, without permission of the account holders and his bosses, transferred Rs 250 crore to the PNB Jangpura branch, which Sheokand had opened. On the same day, Rs 80 crore was transferred to some accounts in New Delhi and Chandigarh, and the rest was either converted into FDR (fixed deposit receipts) or deposited in another account at the same branch. The entire money, Rs 250 crore, was brought back in the original NHAI account (PNB Sector 8), but without interest, thus causing losses to the highway body.
The two accused, however, made up for the losses (of Rs 18 crore) the HSIIDC had incurred. They got two FDRs worth Rs 22.09 crore transferred from the NHAI account to the HSIIDC account in the same branch on July 17, 2014.
Bhim also transferred six FDRs from the Sector-8 PNB branch to various accounts opened in the name of the DRO-cum-LAC Panchkula without permission. Of these, two worth Rs 20 crore were encashed and given away to illegal beneficiaries, causing more loss to NHAI, which pegged its losses at Rs 48.35 crore