District transport officer (DTO) Gurpreet Singh Thind, whose role in a road tax scam during his tenure as Sangrur DTO is being scrutinised by the vigilance bureau (VB), has also come under the Patiala VB’s scanner for a similar fraud at Samana where he was then subdivisional magistrate (SDM).
From July 2011 to April 2012, Thind was posted as SDM at Samana, from where he was shifted as DTO Sangrur. Incidentally, before June 2012, SDMs also held additional responsibility of registering vehicles and collecting tax.
It came to the fore that similar scams of under-collection of road tax by valuing vehicles below their actual price had taken place in both regions during his tenure.
Meanwhile, sleuths of the Patiala VB have been seen acting in the Samana tax scam only after their counterparts in Sangrur exposed the fraud in the neighbouring district and registered an FIR against all officials of the transport office. However, the Patiala VB officials have started verifying records of the transport office here for inconsistencies.
KD Sharma of Patiala vigilance bureau said a special audit of the record of the office of the Samana SDM had been ordered after numerous complaints of road tax pilferage. But, he failed to elaborate on the inordinate delay in finalising the inquiry. “There is a scam. The final report will soon be submitted to higher officials,” said Sharma. Sangrur VB has started investigation while many DTO officials and agents involved in the scam are absconding.
Saying that the transport department had no official communication from the VB, special principal secretary to the chief minister and state transport commissioner Ashwani Sharma said , “Once the VB informs us, those named in the FIR will be suspended.”