With dealers running scared of arrests after the pesticide scam, police had a meeting with them on Wednesday here to restore their confidence.
Police told them that only the dealers involved in the sale of spurious pesticides and fertilisers need to panic, and only if their names cropped up during investigation. Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti said the purpose was to tell the pesticide dealers that nobody would be targeted without reason. Out of fear of arrest, some dealers have started keeping the outlets closed. “They should do their business as usual,” said Bhatti.
Punjab fertliser, pesticide and seed association district unit president Ramesh Garg confirmed that there was panic among the pesticide dealers in the district, and the meeting with police had restored their confidence to some extent, though no dealer had shut shop out of fear.
Meanwhile, police interrogation revealed another Rs 1-crore plot that former director of agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu and purchased in SAS Nagar. Bhatti said the officer had paid Rs 40 lakh over the past 18 months as part of the total cost of the 500-square-yard property in Sector 113. Sandhu’s source of income will be investigated.
The police also secured production warrant of accused Vijay Kumar to interrogate him in connection with the scam. Kumar was first to be arrested after raid on three pesticide warehouses and a fertiliser store on September 2. The interrogation of Sandhu continues at the crime investigation agency (CIA) office here. On Thursday, he will be taken to court.
Bhatti said the names of two other higher officials in the agriculture department had cropped up in the investigation, and though it was alleged that they took bribe from pesticide dealers, police would add their names to the case only after verification.