The Punjab Vigilance Bureau, in its cancellation report filed before a local court, has not only given a clean chit to former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and 17 other accused in the alleged Amritsar Improvement Trust scam, but also highlighted that the accused coloniser worked in “more public interest” than the government.
The 26-page cancellation report (accessed by the HT) states that coloniser Veer Builders, which got its 32 acres of land exempted from acquisition from the improvement trust in 2006, paid a much higher price to people from whom it bought the land than the improvement trust would have, thereby working in a greater public interest than the trust.
The report further states that Veer Builders earned almost Rs 26 crore from the entire project (selling 47 commercial and 333 residential plots) while they would have spent almost Rs 25 crore on setting up and maintaining the project. “Why would anyone bribe in crores if the profit in the entire project is only Rs 1 crore?”questions the vigilance bureau (VB) report.
The VB in September 2008 had registered a first information report (FIR) under Sections 420 (cheating), 467/468 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act at the its police station in SAS Nagar. The challan filed in February 2009 found all 18 accused involved in the alleged scam that led to a loss of Rs 360 crore to the state exchequer. However, the charges were never framed against the accused.
In its second round of investigations -- conducted following an order of the Punjab and Haryana high court -- the VB has found that there was “no undue favour granted to any developer or misuse of power”, while seeking cancellation of the FIR against Capt Amarinder Singh and 17 others (three accused have since died).
The cancellation report has been submitted to the trial court on Friday and notice issued to the Vidhan Sabha secretary, who is the complainant in the case, to record his statement. The case comes up for hearing on October 25.