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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Patiala land scam: District court dismisses bail plea of three accused

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times  Patiala, November 19, 2012
First Published: 22:20 IST(19/11/2012) | Last Updated: 22:27 IST(19/11/2012)

With the vigilance bureau contending that the custodial interrogation of the accused in the Patiala land scam was a must to know how much money had exchanged hands for executing the sale deed of the government land, the court of the district and sessions judge here on Monday dismissed the bail plea of the three accused -- naib tehsildar Gurinder Singh Walia, kanungo Pritpal Singh and patwari Suresh Kumar.

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IAS officer Vikas Garg was also among the accused in the case registered on forgery, conspiracy and corruption charges. All accused, including Garg, are at large and the vigilance is conducting raids to nab them.

Opposing the bail plea on behalf of the vigilance bureau, additional public prosecutor Sanjiv Batra contended that the documentation and physical demarcation had proved that the land sold was of the government department. Besides, the officials had executed the land sale deed for a mere Rs. 6.3 crore, whereas the divisional commissioner had pegged the price of the land at Rs. 250 crore. It clearly showed that the accused had extended undue consideration to the buyer and money had exchanged hands. Thus, there was need for custodial interrogation of the accused to ascertain who had got how much money, Batra said.

On the other hand, the lawyer of the patwari and kanungo argued that his clients had merely acted on the directions of the senior officials and had no role in the scam. The sale deed was executed by the naib tehsildar with the consent of the deputy commissioner, while the patwari and kanungo were not in the picture, he said.

However, the vigilance claimed that the patwari and kanungo were very much aware of the fact that it was government property and that they hadn't mentioned any reference of the official direction for mutation in the record.

After hearing the arguments, the court rejected the bail petition of all the accused.

Meanwhile, vigilance SSP Pritam Singh said the vigilance had conduced raids to nab the accused. He said in case the accused failed to turn up, the vigilance would start the procedure to declare them proclaimed offenders.

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