The Punjab government, after a delay of more than 45 days, has moved the file of the Patiala land scam to the vigilance bureau, not for the registration of a case, but for another inquiry.
It would be the third inquiry by the government into the land scam, in which several officials, including the then deputy commissioner of Patiala, Vikas Garg, were suspended over selling of government properties.
As per the orders of the chief minister office, the vigilance bureau had a month to submit the inquiry report. The chief minister had ordered the vigilance probe on May 8, but it took the file more than a-month-and-a-half to reach the bureau office.
Patiala divisional commissioner SR Ladhar had conducted the first inquiry and submitted the report on April 18. He has sought a first-information report. After that, financial commissioner NS Kang looked into the case and backed Ladhar's recommendation for action. The CM had suspended Garg, a revenue official and five others on the advice of the advocate general.
The fresh inquiry indicated that the government was trying to delay the matter. When contacted, NS Kang, financial commissioner, revenue, refused to comment, while the director general of police, vigilance bureau, said he had not seen the file yet.
However, a bureau official said that Kang and the divisional commissioner had not investigated the role of private people due to a civil service rule that forbade such cross-examination. Senior superintendent of police, vigilance, Varinderpal Singh, is likely to investigate the case.
In 2011, the accused officials had sold a prime government land worth Rs 250 crore by declaring it private property.