The court of the judicial magistrate (first class), Talwandi Sabo, on Saturday, sent Mangal Singh Sandhu, suspended director of agriculture, Punjab, to judicial custody for 14 days in the fake pesticides scam case.
However, the police pleaded for Sandhu’s remand for another three days, but the court rejected their pleas. The police argued that they were yet to recover some documents pertaining to Sandhu’s property from a friend’s house in Sector 34, Chandigarh, in his presence.
Arguing the case, Sandhu’s counsel Chhinderpal Singh Brar said that if the police failed to get anything in five days of his police remand, then why they needed another three days.
Speaking to mediapersons outside the Bathinda jail, Sandhu said, “I have done nothing wrong throughout my life. I will ultimately come clean in the case.” He said that the reports regarding his confession after his arrest were not authenticated.
Meanwhile, another accused Ankush Kumar, owner of Ganesh Chemicals, a fertiliser manufacturing firm at Bhawanigarh in Sangrur district, was also sent to judicial custody.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by Bureau of Investigation Additional Director General of Police Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, is probing the sale of “spurious” pesticides in the state.
During the course of SIT investigation, a case was registered on September 2 at Rama police station in Bathinda against two pesticide dealers — Vijay Kumar and Subham Goyal. Sandhu was not initially named in the FIR. His name was added after his arrest from Chandigarh. Sandhu is alleged to have taken Rs 8 lakh for allowing the sale of spurious pesticides. The fact-finding report claims that Sandhu had ordered the purchase of Oberon pesticides worth Rs 14 crore by forming a purchase committee without following the procedure.
Pesticide dealer Vijay Kumar of Koro Mandal crops of Rama Mandi, who was arrested earlier, had during his interrogation named Sandhu. He had claimed that the agriculture director renewed licences of old companies and issued fresh licenses to a few without checking the companies’ antecedents.