Eight months after registering a case about the supply of spurious pesticides, police are still to file a charge sheet against former Punjab director of agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu.
Police await a signal from the home department to prosecute Sandhu. The file is pending with the investigation bureau director. Last October, the case was registered under the Essential Commodities Act, Control of Fertilisers Act, Insecticides Act, Prevention of Corruption Act and cheating and criminal conspiracy sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after pesticides failed to control the whitefly attack in the cotton belt and it destroyed 60% of the fibre crop.
In a charge sheet filed against three other accused — Vijay Kumar, Shubham Goyal and Ankush — here in May, police didn’t mention Sandhu. Arrested from his Chandigarh house in October, he secured bail from the Punjab and Haryana high court in December.
This May, police moved the home department to seek permission for prosecuting Sandhu but haven’t received any reply. “We sent no reminder,” said a senior police official, requesting anonymity. Senior superintendent of police Swapan Sharma said: “Prosecution sanction is a must for putting any government officer on trial.”
Last September after cotton diaster, Bathinda police had arrested pesticide dealers Vijay Kumar and Shubham Goyal and fertiliser maker Ankush Kumar. Vijay allegedly said Sandhu had accept Rs 8 crore as bribe for renewing the licences of spurious-pesticide makers. Sandhu allegedly gave Rs 14 crore purchase order for Oberon pesticides by violating procedure.