Even as chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is yet to clear the file for a vigilance probe into the alleged illegal sale of government land as private property in Patiala, the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) - the apex body which coordinates with all agencies that enforce economic laws in the country - has started an investigation into the scam, with focus on the possible role of black money and evasion of taxes..
Also, deputy commissioner GK Singh has withdrawn the power of registration of land sale deeds from GS Walia, the naib tehsildar who executed the deed of property between two private parties for a chunk of land that houses five government offices and is apparently owned by the government.
Taking cognizance of the exclusive reportage of the scam by Hindustan Times, HS Sohi, director (investigation) of the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB), has asked Patiala divisional commissioner SR Ladhar to provide the report of an inquiry that he had conducted.
Ladhar's probe report had indicted the then Patiala deputy commissioner Vikas Garg, former divisional commissioner GS Grewal and naib tehsildar GS Walia for the scam involving 6,000 square yards. Garg was subsequently transferred.
Ladhar has recommended a vigilance probe into the matter. Even the minister for revenue, Bikram Singh Majithia, agreed with Ladhar and forwarded the file to the chief minister for registration of an FIR.
"[With] Reference to the Hindustan Times news report related to the Patiala land scam, please supply us the copy of inquiry report, so that we can investigate all aspects of the economic deal/tax evasion and use of black money. It is a sensitive matter and CEIB wishes to carry out an in-depth investigation," said Sohi in a demi-official letter to Ladhar on April 24.
On the other hand, SK Sandhu, the principal secretary to the chief minister, confirmed that the chief minister's office has received the file with recommendation of a vigilance probe. "Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal will take the final call on Monday," he conveyed to the Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, a fresh demarcation of property has landed Kiraninder Singh in the soup. The demarcation has pointed out that the land between the civil surgeon office and the head post office - the land that was sold illegally by terming as private property - also falls in Khasra No 103, which is owned by the government.
"The fresh demarcation has also reaffirmed that Kiraninder had already sold off his land in the area. He owned 52 bighas in Khasra No 104, which he had sold off before issuing an illegal general power of attorney for the land in Khasra No 103," Ladhar told the Hindustan Times.