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Punjab VB report points to nexus of cops and conman

Punjab police inspector general (IG) Gautam Cheema, who is absconding after being booked for kidnapping and molestation, and a section of other Indian Police Service (IPS) officers have “financial and personal relations” with the arrested Davinder Gill.

chandigarh Updated: Sep 12, 2014 07:59 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Hindustan Times

Punjab police inspector general (IG) Gautam Cheema, who is absconding after being booked for kidnapping and molestation, and a section of other Indian Police Service (IPS) officers have “financial and personal relations” with the arrested Davinder Gill, a clerk-turned-coloniser, according to a damning report of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB).

The VB also held an inquiry into the role of another senior police officer Rakesh Chandra, IG, who is a CRPF officer absorbed in a special cadre of Punjab Police, and another Punjab cadre IPS officer Rakesh Aggarwal. While IG Chandra had invested Rs 65 lakh to buy two showroom plots in Rajpura from Davinder, Aggarwal’s father-in-law had paid the conman Rs 2 crore through cheques/cash to buy a farmhouse in New Chandigarh. According to the VB inquiry, Cheema had “purchased” two plots in the name of his mother-in-law and “four in his own” in December 2009 and January 2010, from Sky Heights, the real estate company of conman Davinder.

Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had told VB chief director Suresh Arora to hold an in-depth inquiry into the role of IG Cheema and other IPS officers and their alleged involvement with Davinder, the master conman whom the CBI had also booked in May 2011 in a Rs 1.5 crore bribery case.

“Foregoing discussion and reconstruction of events establishes financial and personal relations between the accused (IPS) officers and Davinder Gill and his partners,” the exhaustive VB dossier—HT has the copy of the inquiry report—already submitted to the deputy chief minister has concluded in its findings.

To further ensure “free and fair investigation” and to allay the fears of the complainants, the VB has recommended that criminal cases registered (against the complainants as well as IG Cheema and his associates) in SAS Nagar district be transferred to the Crime Branch at Punjab Police headquarters for investigation under “personal supervision of Director, Bureau of Investigation/ADGP in charge of Crime Branch at police headquarters.

The VB has attributed the genesis of the dispute to “failure of commitment” by conman Davinder and his partners in executing on ground the agreements entered by them in lieu of investments made by the officers, their relatives and friends in Davinder’s real estate company.

“Since the officers felt cheated they got cases registered against Davinder and his partners in SAS Nagar district,” the inquiry report says.

The gross professional misconduct by IG Cheema, who is posted in the information technology and telecommunications (IT&T) wing of the Punjab police in Chandigarh and had allegedly abducted a proclaimed offender (PO) from police custody, was first reported in Hindustan Times (‘Punjab IG kidnaps PO, frees him’, August 30). Then apart from Cheema, the police had registered the first information report (FIR) against Ajay Chaudhary and two unidentified persons. Chaudhary, as per police records, is the suspended chief executive officer (CEO) of the Ambala Cantonment Board and was accompanying Cheema during the PO’s alleged abduction.

The VB has limited its inquiry to examining the alleged kidnapping of Davinder on February 26, 2014 by IG Cheema.

Following the alleged kidnapping, a criminal case was registered against Davinder at Mohali on March 22.

The VB recorded the statements of all the persons involved in the course of events, apart from “intensive questioning of persons involved”.

‘Machination by senior officers’

As per the VB inquiry, the complainants Kricpy Khera, Maninderpreet Gulati and Amarpreet (wives of Davinder, Sumedh Gulati and Vicky Verma, respectively) alleged that their husbands were victims of “machination by senior police officers, who had been their associates” but later fell out “over sharing of profits” and began implicating them in false cases.

The VB report says that IG Rakesh Chandra has also been named as one of the accused by the complainants — the wives of Davinder and Sumedh. IG Chandra is alleged to have got two showrooms allotted under duress from Davinder at Rajpura.

But the IG, in his submission to the VB, has said that he had secured permission from the government “to invest Rs 65 lakh with Davinder Gill” and that this money was transferred through bank.

The IG has also clarified that he never got the possession of these showrooms as the land on which they were to be raised is under dispute in a court at Rajpura.

Farmhouse landtransaction

The allegation against IPS Rakesh Aggarwal is that his father-in-law Yash Pal Gupta procured a farmhouse from Davinder and Sumedh and paid a paltry sum “due to pressure exercised by IG Cheema”.

However, Yash Pal told the VB that he paid Rs 2 crore in the form of bank cheques/cash and “did not get the farmhouse land which was promised to him”.

This transaction had become the basis for registration of criminal cases number 62 of March 22 at Mohali police station against Davinder.

First Published: Sep 12, 2014 07:56 IST