Ex-sarpanch, panchayat secretary booked for embezzling Rs 59.75 lakh in Punjab
A former sarpanch of Moga district’s Khosa Kotla village and then panchayat secretary were booked on Wednesday for alleged embezzlement of funds to the tune of Rs 59.75 lakh, nearly 16 months after the scam surfaced in an inquiry conducted by the department of rural development and panchayats.
The accused are Jagraj Singh, the former sarpanch, and then panchayat secretary Jasjeet Singh. The alleged embezzlement took place between 2013 and 18.
According to the probe, the two forged signatures of other members on panchayat resolutions, besides misappropriating the funds.
The report prepared by then district development and panchayat officer (DDPO) Lakhwinder Singh Randhawa stated, “It was found that the panchayat had revenue (grants and funds) of Rs 1.79 crore, Rs 98 lakh expenditure while Rs 21.53 lakh was deposited in the bank accounts. The record shows a shortfall of Rs 59.75 lakh and officials have failed to give any explanation. It was also found that payments were made without passing panchayat resolutions.”
Block development and panchayat officer (BDPO) Sukhwinder Sidhu said several notices were issued to the accused to clarify the shortfall or deposit the money but they failed to comply.
A case has been registered against the accused under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
‘Implicated in fake rape
case for pursuing case’
The complainant in the case, Veer Singh, alleged that he was implicated in a false rape case in 2018 by the accused to stop him from pursuing the complaint against them. “I had gathered the information on the gram panchayat’s working through RTIs. After finding irregularities, I reported this to the department. A false case was registered against me in May 2018 and my bail was rejected by the lower court,” he said.
“Later, my son contacted that woman, who had levelled fake rape allegations against me. He filmed the conversation in which she tells how she implicated me in a false case. We submitted the evidence in the Punjab and Haryana high court and to the Punjab director general of police (DGP) after which the case was dismissed,” he added.