₹ 400-cr investment scam: Probe delayed inordinately, Punjab and Haryana HC seeks status report from DGP - Hindustan Times
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400-cr investment scam: Probe delayed inordinately, Punjab and Haryana HC seeks status report from DGP

By, Chandigarh
Feb 28, 2023 10:27 PM IST

Miffed over the “inordinate” delay in probe into a ₹ 400 crore investment scam in Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana high court has sought a status report from the director general of police (DGP) in a seven years’ old case.

Miffed over the “inordinate” delay in probe into a 400 crore investment scam in Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana high court has sought a status report from the director general of police (DGP) in a seven years’ old case.

Dissatisfied court, over state’s handling of the matter, observed that eight months have passed since matter was sent to the DGP but remained pending with his office. (Representational Photo (Getty Images/iStockphoto) )
Dissatisfied court, over state’s handling of the matter, observed that eight months have passed since matter was sent to the DGP but remained pending with his office. (Representational Photo (Getty Images/iStockphoto) )

Dissatisfied court, over state’s handling of the matter, observed that eight months have passed since matter was sent to the DGP but remained pending with his office. “The petition in hand relates to the year 2017 and is being inordinately delayed on account of indecisiveness of the authorities concerned,” the bench of justice Vinod S Bhardwaj remarked asking for a detailed status report from the DGP in six weeks. The matter has been adjourned for further hearing on July 19.

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The multi-crore investment scam was unearthed in July 2016 when a first information report (FIR) was registered at the Chheharta police station in Amritsar on the complaint of the victims who had lost their hard-earned money to the fraudsters. One more case was registered in this regard in November 2016 on the basis of the investigation conducted by an NGO, which had found that more than 15,000 people were duped on pretext of various term and fixed deposit schemes by several companies.

The allegations were that some ‘influential’ persons with political backing had floated several fake investment companies, without having licenses. The owners of these companies had allegedly duped “ 400 crore from more than 15,000 people on pretext of term and fixed deposit schemes”. Later on, the companies were ‘dissolved’ and the accumulated money was invested in ‘properties, illegal colonies, and in four Punjab films’. The allegations of involvement were also levelled against two former MLAs of two main political parties—Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress—in the state. The matter had reached high court as one Bakshinder Singh and 15 others approached court with a plea seeking constitution of a special investigation team to probe the scam as due to influential persons, local were dillydallying the probe. The high court sought response from the government on April 28, 2017 and since then matter is pending.

During the hearing on February 22, the petitioner’s counsel, Mohinder Singh had pointed out that the commissioner of police, Amritsar has already intimated to the DGP office for referring the matter to the Enforcement Director for investigation. The opinion of the DA (legal) in the DGP office, has also been obtained who has endorsed the said point of view. However, no action has been taken thereafter.

State’s counsel had admitted that the recommendations for transfer of the inquiry to the ED had already been made and that the same was pending with the office of DGP Punjab since May 12, 2022. In November 2022, when the matter was last taken up, the state’s counsel had sought adjournment stating that he needed some time to seek instructions as to what transpired after May 12, 2022. During the hearing on February 22, the state’s counsel submitted again that no decision has been taken.

Now court has sought affidavit from the DGP, and made it clear that if the affidavit is not filed within six weeks, the respondents would be fined with 22,000.

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