Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has given the nod to register an FIR against IAS officer Vikas Garg for corruption and forgery in the Rs 250-crore Patiala land scam.
A vigilance bureau (VB) inquiry had found Garg guilty of allowing the execution of the land sale deed of the civil surgeon's office (government property) when he was the deputy commissioner, Patiala, in 2011.
It would be the first case to be registered against an IAS officer during the current regime of the Akali-BJP government.
Hindustan Times ('DC, revenue officials in dock for sale of prime govt land', April 20) had highlighted the connivance of 1998-batch IAS officer Garg and other officials in selling prime government property housing five government offices.
Approving the VB report submitted by director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora, the CM has given the go-ahead for the registration of an FIR against Garg, along with five officials and five others.
Badal also holds the charge of the state vigilance department. Only the CM can decide on the registration of an FIR against an IAS officer.
Ironically, Garg, who belongs to Badal's home district, Muktsar, is considered close to the ruling family. During the previous Akali-BJP regime (2007-12), he served on several plum posts, such as the DC of Ludhiana, Patiala and Muktsar districts.
"The CM has accepted the vigilance inquiry recommendations and given the nod to register the case. The file has been moved to the chief secretary's office, from where it would go to the VB," said Gaggandeep Singh Brar, special principal secretary to CM.
He added that during the inquiry, it was found that Patiala tehisldar AS Thind had no role in the case, thus he was given the clean chit.
The other officers against whom the case will be registered are then district revenue officer, Patiala, Rajbir Singh, naib tehsildar GS Walia, kanungo Priitpal Singh, patwari Suresh Kumar, former divisional commissioner GS Grewal, and property sellers/purchasers Ravdeep Singh, NP Singh, Devinder Singh Sandhu, Jaswant Singh and Yashpal Aggarwal.
Garg and the other officials had already been indicted by a probe conducted by then divisional commissioner Sucha Ram Ladhar. This inquiry was upheld by financial commissioner, revenue, NS Kang. Subsequently, Punjab revenue minister Bikram Majithia had demanded stringent action against the guilty.
As private parties were involved in the scam, the CM had marked the inquiry to probe their role to the VB, which submitted its report in September.