Punjab food grain transportation scam: Vigilance bureau files chargesheet against ex-minister Ashu, 2 others

Updated on Nov 15, 2022 01:10 AM IST

The chargesheet filed in the court of additional district and sessions judge, Ludhiana, Ajit Atri comprises 91 pages of details of findings

In the preliminary chargesheet, vigilance bureau mentioned that the transportation, labour and cartage tenders allotted for grain-lifting process during former food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu’s tenure were stage-managed and given to his aides in exchange of money. (PTI file photo)
In the preliminary chargesheet, vigilance bureau mentioned that the transportation, labour and cartage tenders allotted for grain-lifting process during former food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu’s tenure were stage-managed and given to his aides in exchange of money. (PTI file photo)
By, Ludhiana

Punjab vigilance bureau on Monday filed the preliminary chargesheet against former food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, contractor Telu Ram and commission agent (arhtiya) Krishan Lal Dhotiwala in the 2,000-crore foodgrain transportation scam.

The chargesheet filed in the court of additional district and sessions judge, Ludhiana, Ajit Atri comprises 91 pages of details of findings. The total documents attached in the complete file run into 1,556 pages.

Vigilance officials said that investigation in the case was underway and a supplementary chargesheet will be filed as per the probe’s progress.

In the preliminary chargesheet, it was mentioned that the transportation, labour and cartage tenders allotted for grain-lifting process during Ashu’s tenure were stage-managed and given to his aides in exchange of money and in connivance with Rakesh Kumar Singla, former deputy director of food and civil supplies department. Singla, a co-accused in the case, is absconding.

On August 16, the vigilance bureau had registered a case against the partners in Gurdas Ram and Company, officials of Punjab food and civil supplies department, and employees of procurement agencies concerned for allegedly committing irregularities in accepting labour, cartage and transportation tenders for grain markets in Ludhiana district.

The FIR was registered under sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 7 (2), 8, 12 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Telu Ram, one of the partners in the firm, was arrested by the vigilance bureau, which later nominated Ashu in the case. The former minister was arrested on August 22 from a salon in Ludhiana amid high drama.

The vigilance bureau had claimed that at the time of submitting tenders for year 2020-21, the list of vehicles submitted by contractors contained registration numbers of scooters, motorcycles and cars, which were not verified by officials of the district tender committee due to criminal connivance with each other.

It was added that as per the department’s policy, it was mandatory for the committee to reject the technical bid for the above-mentioned reason, but the same was not done.

Ashu, a Congress leader, is currently lodged in a Patiala jail and the Punjab and Haryana high court has already dismissed his bail application.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tarsem Singh Deogan is a senior reporter at Ludhiana. He has 16 years of experience in journalism. He has covered all beats and now focuses on crime reporting.

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