NH-74 scam: Prime accused DP Singh pleads not guilty, sent to jail

DP Singh had surrendered before the special investigation team (SIT) in Rudrapur a day ago and was presented in the court of additional district and sessions judge Kumkum Singh.

dehradun Updated: Nov 24, 2017 20:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
NH-74 scam,DP Singh,Uttarakhand
Prime accused in the Rs 300-crore NH-74 scam, former special land acquisition officer, DP Singh. (HT Photo)

Prime accused in the Rs 300-crore NH-74 scam, former special land acquisition officer (SLAO) DP Singh Friday pleaded not guilty in the additional district and sessions court, Nainital.

Singh, who surrendered before the special investigation team (SIT) in Rudrapur a day ago, was presented in the court of additional district and sessions judge Kumkum Singh who sent him to jail. Police also presented another accused Sanjay Singh in the court, who too was sent to jail.

The suspended provincial civil services (PCS) officer has been booked under Sections 167, 218, 219, 409, 420, 465, 466, 467, 471, 474, 120 B, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

Earlier, Singh requested the court that he would argue his own case, to which the court agreed. Claiming innocence in the case, Singh told the court that he had remained posted in Rudrapur from January 18, 2016 till March 2017. He claimed that in his capacity as SLAO, he had not changed the nature of land --- from agricultural to commercial --- that was acquired for construction of NH-74 in the Udham Singh Nagar district.

Singh claimed that all the documents pertaining to acquisition of the land were sealed before he was implicated in the case. He said that he had asked all the SDMs to provide clear details of the acquired land.

The suspended official, who had been absconding since October 28, the day the Uttarakhand High Court vacated a stay on his arrest, claimed that he had not surrendered earlier as he was “receiving threats”.

Singh’s counsel Saurabh Adhikari too argued that his client had been implicated falsely in the case.

Government counsel Sushil Kumar Sharma, however, argued that Singh had granted Rs 11 lakh compensation for a home on the roadside, while the actual ex gratia should have been Rs 4 lakh.

Earlier, after the HC vacated a stay on his arrest, Singh had filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court, which was rejected on November 3. Last week, the SIT sleuths had put up a notice on Singh’s house to attach his property.

In March this year, the then Kumaon commissioner, D Senthil Pandiyan, unearthed the Rs 300-crore scam in procurement of land for construction of NH-74 in Udham Singh Nagar district. The nature of the land was allegedly changed from agricultural to commercial under Section 143 of Zamidari Abolishment and Land Reforms Act 1950. Farmers were allegedly given inflated compensation in collusion of revenue officials.

An FIR was lodged on March 11 against nearly 100 people, including revenue and National Highway Authority of India officials. Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat suspended six state civil service officials, including Singh, in April.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 20:32 IST