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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Former councillor convicted of grain market fraud

HT Correspondent HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 22, 2014
First Published: 17:13 IST(22/7/2014) | Last Updated: 17:18 IST(22/7/2014)

Five years after he was booked for fraudulent allotment of sheds at the Sector 26 grain market, former Congress councillor and the then chairman of the market committee Davinder Singh Babla was convicted of cheating, on Monday.

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The court of judicial magistrate Shifa found Babla guilty of allotting sheds in the grain market to 10 ineligible people. He has been convicted under Sector 420 (cheating) of the IPC. 

The court, however, has taken a lenient view and released him on probation of one-year against bail bonds of Rs. 50,000. The court also said that political vendetta in the registration of the case could not be ruled out.

THE CASE
On August 19, 2009, the UT police booked Devinder Singh Babla, an MC councillor and chairman of the Sector 26 grain market committee, for allegedly allotting platforms in the grain market to 10 ineligible persons.
The FIR was registered on a complaint, in the form of an affidavit, from Suraj Parkash Ahuja, owner of shop numbers 9-10 at the grain market. 

MODUS OPERANDI
Babla manipulated the list of allottees. As per the original list, 59 sheds were to be allotted during an auction against a licence fee. Babla, not only deleted names of six genuine allottees, but also added more names, bringing the number of allottees to 69. Additional deputy commissioner PS Shergill conducted the inquiry and indicted Babla following which a case under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC was registered.

Charges against Babla  
“No applications were invited for allotment, nor were any individual allotments given or possession handed over to any allotee. Documents were forged,” the police said.
 
Complainant died during trial
The whistleblower, 72-year-old, Suraj Parkash Ahuja, died of cancer in April 2011. Ahuja’s statement could not be recorded even though the court had appointed a local commissioner to record his statement.
 
Will challenge conviction
Babla said, “We will file an appeal against the conviction. I have been framed.”

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