Hoshiarpur land scam: ED registers money laundering case against ex-SDM, 10 others | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Hoshiarpur land scam: ED registers money laundering case against ex-SDM, 10 others

Government officials and private parties allegedly colluded to show the commercial land as agricultural, causing a loss of Rs 58 crore to the state exchequer.

punjab Updated: Jun 05, 2017 22:25 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
(HT File Photo)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday registered a money laundering case against former Hoshiarpur SDM Anand Sagar Sharma and 10 others in the multi-crore Hoshiarpur land scam, exposed by Hindustan Times in February 2016.

According to a statement issued by ED’s Jalandhar office, government officials and private parties allegedly colluded to show the commercial land as agricultural, causing a loss of Rs 58 crore to the state exchequer. The land was acquired for the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur-Chintpurni four-lane highway project. Sharma was then SDM of Hoshiarpur.

“The ED has taken a suo moto action in this case while following close leads provided by the Vigilance Bureau (VB),” said an ED official.

The economic offences wing of the VB, Ludhiana, had registered an FIR under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (cheating), 467, 468 and 471 (forgery), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, against Sharma and 10 others in February this year.

According to the VB, Sharma “colluded” with revenue officials and Akali leaders to “illegally” sell the land that was already notified for acquisition.

The Akali leaders booked in the case include Hoshiarpur market committee chairman Avtar Singh Johal, councillor Harpinder Gill and district co-operative bank chairman Satwinder Pal Singh Dhatt. The other accused are Devi Ram, Jaswinder Pal Singh, and Prateek Gupta.

According to the FIR, an extra amount of Rs 23.19 crore was paid as compensation in only two villages — Khawaspur and Piplanwala — where the Akali leaders and other land sharks purchased the already notified land in the names of their kin from farmers at throwaway prices during the acquisition process.