THE SPECIAL Police Establishment (SPE) of Lokayukta on Wednesday presented a charge sheet against IAS officer Vinod Semwal in connection with the irregularities in allotment of a piece of land in Ratlam.
The charge sheet was presented in a special court at Ratlam. The case had been awaiting sanction for prosecution from the government for several years.
Though the sanction was not awarded, the Lokayukta police have now gone ahead with the charge sheet following a recent Supreme Court judgment. As per the ruling, the prosecution need not wait till the public servant’s retirement; rather the moment he is removed/shifted from the particular office where he is working (and not cadre), he can be prosecuted, said Lokayukta Justice Ripusudan Dayal.
The case against Semwal was registered on the complaint of Deepak Tiwari, who had alleged that the Nazul land was illegally sold in Ratlam. During initial investigation it was found that 11.21 acres of land was given on lease to a factory for 51 years by the then Maharaja Ratlam in 1922.
After the lease period ended, the Collector cancelled the land deed and directed that it be registered as government land and the occupier be evicted. In 1993, the then Collector and Chairman City Development Trust Vinod Semwal gave away 30,000 square feet government land free of cost to Vinod Parekh.
Semwal, when contacted, declined to comment. During the investigation the Lokayukta police found that the lease had ended in 1973 and was not renewed until 1993. Still, Semwal as Collector Ratlam allotted the land to Vinod Parekh and in process caused a loss of over Rs 1.25 crore to the government. The land acquisition was done illegally and on the basis of a bogus agreement, the piece of land was handed over to Parekh for no cost.
The Lokayukta police had registered case against Vinod Semwal and Vinod Parekh under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Lokayukta decided to prosecute them in 2003 and sent the case for sanction to government in July 2003.
The Lokayukta has decided to prosecute Semwal in light of the recent Supreme Court judgment in Prakash Singh Badal Vs Punjab government case. Semwal is no longer Chairman of the City Development Trust and thus it was not deemed necessary to have government sanction by the Lokayukta.