A team of the Punjab Police from Bathinda district arrested director, agriculture, Mangal Singh Sandhu on Sunday night for his alleged involvement in the supply of spurious pesticides to cotton farmers of districts in the Malwa belt.
The police team raided the Sector 42, Chandigarh, house of Sandhu around 11 pm and took him into custody. At the time of filing of this story, the police were searching his house. According to Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) Indermohan Singh Bhatti, who initiated action against Sandhu, the latter’s name had cropped up during the course of the investigation into the sale of spurious pesticides.
A case under sections 420 and 186 (for cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Essential Commodities Act, Khaad Control Act and Insecticides Act 1968 was registered against Sandhu.
Sandhu would be taken on Monday to Bathinda, where he would be produced in the court to seek his police remand.
On September 2, a case was registered at Rama police station and Vijay Kumar, representative of Koromamdal Crops, was held. According to Bhatti, it was Vijay who revealed during the interrogation that Sandhu gave fresh licences and renewed old ones for the sale of pesticides in exchange for gratification from pesticides companies without checking their antecedents or examining the pesticides.
On September 17, Sandhu, who was on officiating charge as director, was removed from the post and the charge was given to joint director-level officer Gurdial Singh. Subsequently, Sandhu got the order stayed from the HC and started accusing his colleagues for the pesticide scam. He also claimed that he had been keeping agriculture minister Tota Singh in the loop about the functioning of the department.