Even as the police team headed by deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Shahkot, Harpreet Singh Benipal gave a clean chit to the main accused, naib tehsildar Inderjit Singh Dhanoa, in the multi-crore Lohian land scam, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Yurinder Singh Hayre on Friday appointed superintendent of police (SP) Rajinder Singh as the team “supervisor” to timely unveil the extent of the scam and involvement of non-official actors in the fraud.
“Keeping in view the sensitivity of the case, the entire probe will be carried out under the supervision of SP (detective) Rajinder Singh. We will investigate the case thoroughly. The involvement of any person in the scam, if proved during investigation, will surely lead to his or her arrest. We will not allow the government property to be usurped by the accused through fraud,” Hayre said.
The move to appoint a senior police officer was being seen as a clear signal to the team members and other stakeholders that the culprits would not be allowed to go scot-free, insiders, privy to the development, revealed.
This is to mention here that 31 conveyance deeds were “illegally” registered to transfer 155 acres of government land in Lohian under the Punjab Package Deal Properties (disposal) Act, 1976, thus, causing a huge loss worth crores to the state exchequer.
Official files of these 31 cases were not available in the records, while a mandatory fee of Rs 5,000 each was also not deposited.
The matter was reported to deputy commissioner Shruti Singh, who, subsequently, got an inquiry conducted into the case.
The police laid a trap in Amritsar on Sunday to nab Dhanoa, while a photostat shop owner was also arrested. Third accused Angrez Singh, sales clerk, is on the run.
Interestingly, Benipal earlier gave a clean chit to the main accused and said there was no formal complaint against Dhanoa.
“The present naib tehsildar, Amarjit Singh, had been claiming that his signatures were fudged to prepare 10 fake conveyance deeds for transferring government land to the tillers concerned. Amarjit should have got his signatures verified before lodging such a complaint. Besides, there is no mention of any wrongdoings committed by Dhanoa in the said complaint,” Benipal said, adding that clerk Angrez Singh’s name was actually mentioned in the complaint.
On failure to arrest Angrez Singh, he said the police would start a hunt soon. Whether 31 beneficiaries would be made to join the investigations, the DSP said he would look into the issue after returning from his leave period, which is till June 30. “The probe will start after I join back the duty,” he said.
Meanwhile, DC Shruti Singh has ordered the district revenue officer to cancel these 31 conveyance deeds after adopting the due procedure.
“I have requested the financial commissioner (revenue) to appoint special teams to examine all such conveyance deeds carried out under the Punjab Package Deal Properties (disposal) Act. The possibility of the act misuse could not be ruled out in the rest of the district,” she said.
Benefits under the properties Act
Under the Punjab Package Deal Properties (disposal) Act, landless persons or persons with less than 10 acres of landholdings engaged in tilling the government land for a particular period of time may apply for allotment of five acres of that government land on non-transferrable basis. That chunk will be used only for agriculture purpose. The government employee or beneficiary of any other land allotment scheme is not entitled to secure benefits under the Act.