The Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has ordered a vigilance probe in the Patiala land scam, highlighted by HT in an exclusive report on April 20.
Also, state revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia has suspended IAS officer Vikas Garg, who as deputy commissioner of Patiala allowed the sale deed of 6000 sq yards of land, housing six government offices. The DC allegedly allowed the sale of government offices by declaring the property as private.
The other officers who were suspended included DRO, Patiala Rajbir Singh (under transfer), tehsildar Patiala AS Thind, naib tehsildar Patiala, GS Walia, Kanugo Priitpal Singh and Patwari Suresh Kumar, according to a release by the CMO.
Talking to HT, Bikram Singh Majithia, who has forwarded the file to CM with recommendation of vigilance probe, said that "CM has ordered a vigilance probe apart from departmental action against all. Not only this, I have recommended a time-bound vigilance probe led by a senior officer, so that government can set an example by taking decisive action against corrupt officials", he said.
It is pertinent to mention that the divisional commissioner SR Ladhar had indicted Vikas Garg, other revenue officials and even former divisional commissioner GS Grewal, for illegal sale of government properties.
The sale deed relating to nearly 6,000 sq yards of prime land in Patiala city were presented before the registration authorities in Patiala. In the sale deeds the owner of the land was shown as Kiraninder Singh and the Khasra no. of the property was mentioned as No. 104.
However the boundaries of the property, as mentioned in the sale deed, indicated it to be the land occupied by offices of the civil surgeon, education department etc. Since the deed was not being registered the vendors moved the high court and the deputy commissioner-cum-collector was directed to decide their representation.
Vide his order dated 22nd March, 2011 the collector-cum-DC without having any authority decided that no directions to register the sale deed could be issued to the sub registrar. This order was stayed in by the commissioner Patiala on 15th April, 2011.
On 7th October, 2011 the sub registrar Patiala put up a note to the deputy commissioner mentioning that the sale deed had again been presented for registration and sought advice in the matter. This note mentioned that the power of attorney given by the owner had already been cancelled.
The DRO Patiala on 13th October, 2011 recorded that the matter had been discussed with the DC and that the registration could not be refused. A letter to this effect was also written on 14th October, 2011. The sale deed was registered by the naib tehsildar Patiala on the same date.