Hoshiapur land scam: VB did little to nab accused in two months
In what appears to be undeclared co-operation to the accused, the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau has made no effort to nab suspended former Hoshiarpur SDM Anand Sagar Sharma, who was booked with 11 others in the multi-crore Hoshiarpur land scam two months back. As per the VB, Sharma is the main “conspirator” in the scam.punjab Updated: Apr 18, 2017 10:25 IST
In what appears to be undeclared co-operation to the accused, the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau has made no effort to nab suspended former Hoshiarpur SDM Anand Sagar Sharma, who was booked with 11 others in the multi-crore Hoshiarpur land scam two months back. As per the VB, Sharma is the main “conspirator” in the scam.
The SDM, who is absconding as per Vigilance Bureau (VB) officials, had proceeded on leave after registration of the FIR on February 13 and on February 20, the state government suspended him because he was found absent from duty after the expiry of his leave.
The PCS officer was booked with twelve others, including few local SAD leaders from Hoshiarpur, in a scam involving acquisition of land for Hoshiarpur-Chintpurni national highway. As per the allegations, the accused connived to bought the already-notified land from the farmers at throwaway prices and got hefty compensation by fraudulently showing it as commercial sites.
Sources said because of the “laxity” on part of the VB, five accused have secured bail in last one month and others, including the SDM, have applied for the same. The SDM’s bail plea was rejected by a Ludhiana court, and now, it is learnt, he has applied in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the hearing is on April 20.
Before registration of the FIR as well, the bureau took around three months to act on the report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that investigated the case after Hindustan Times exposed this scam through a series of reports in June last year.
Taking cognisance of the HT reports, the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had ordered forming the SIT under inspector general of police (VB) Shive Kumar Verma to probe the case.
“The VB intentions are very clear. First, they tried their best not to register an FIR, but media pressure didn’t let them succeed. Now, they are giving a long rope to the accused in the case. A common man is picked within no time even for minor offence, but, here, VB is dragging its feet as high-profile people are involved,” laments RTI activist and whistle-blower in the case, Rajiv Vashisht.
A case under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating), 467, 468 and 471 (forgery) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, and under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was been registered against the accused.
When contacted by HT, Verma said since he was busy in election duty in Tamil Nadu, he was not in proper position to comment on the status of the case. Superintendent of police (economic offences wing, Jalandhar) Rajinder Singh, said he joined the office only a few days back and won’t be able to comment.
The Akali leaders booked in the case include Avtar Singh Johal, councillor Harpinder Gill and Satwinder Pal Singh Dhatt. All have got the bails and have formally joined the investigation.
Six government officials booked in the case, Baljinder Singh (former tehsildar), Parminder Kumar (patwari), Manjeet Singh (naib-tehsildar), Daljeet Singh (patwari), Sandeep Kumar (clerk in SDM office), Parwinder Singh Sodhi (registry clear in tehsildar office), have not got bail. The other accused in the case are: Devi Ram (a deed writer), Jaswinder Pal Singh and Prateek Gupta (both prominent businessman).