JCT Electronics land deal: High court notice to Punjab, CBI on plea seeking probe by central agency
The high court has sought response from Punjab government and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea seeking probe into the sale of JCT Electronics land in Mohali’s Phase 8.
The plea has been filed by Sandeep Kumar and Randeep Suri, both ex-directors of Punjab Small Industry and Export Corporation (PSIEC), who were removed in July 2021. The 31-acre land (Plot Number 32 in Phase 8, Mohali) was liquidated from JCT Electronics, allotted to it in 1984. It was auctioned last year and the lone bidder got it for ₹90.56 crore. The plea alleges that the bidder firm is selling small plots on the land for ₹465 crore. Last month, Punjab Lokpal had summoned industries minister Sham Sunder Arora and PSIEC director for October in this controversy, taking cognisance of a complaint. However, the plea in high court does not make Arora a party in the case though alleges ‘interference by politicians’.
The plea alleges involvement of top officials and political functionaries “who are trying to use their influence on petitioners, who are whistle blowers and are being harassed and humiliated and threats being extended”. They allege that they were removed as they had complained about the manner this land deal was being dealt with by the corporation.
According to the plea, after liquidation proceedings, an e-auction notice was issued in January 21 for sale of 1,50,040 square yards land and building on 3,33,445 square feet at a reserve price of ₹90.5 crore.
A firm became the lone bidder and got the plot for ₹90.56 crore allegedly due to political pressure and official liquidator got only ₹45 crore. The decision to approve the deal was taken on March 26, 2020, when the country was under lockdown and a curfew was imposed, claims the plea, adding that in October 2020 in the board meeting of PSIEC, demand for referring the matter to finance department and advocate general were not adhered to and file was put up before the government by giving it a colour of “warranting immediate attention”.
In advocate general’s opinion, obtained by the government later, neither officers of Punjab Infotech and PSIEC nor the department of industries performed due diligence in arriving at a valuation, claims the plea, seeking a CBI probe. The matter will now be taken up on October 7.