2013 Nabha land auction case: ‘Shoddy probe’ by cops, DGP shifts probe to vigilance
THE ISSUE Case relates to auction of a plot in August 19, 2013 on directions of Nabha civil court; it had ordered the tehsildar to auction 175 sq yard of the plot; officials sold entire plotpunjab Updated: Jul 25, 2017 17:13 IST
Taking note of the ‘shoddy’ investigation by Patiala police, the director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora has shifted probe of a land auction case to the Vigilance Bureau (VB), in which a ‘whistle-blower’ has been made the accused.
The action came after the DGP office showed dissatisfaction with the two-and-a-half-year prolonged investigation, which concealed more instead of pin-pointing the accused. The police have failed to produce a copy of the complaint on which the FIR was registered, which was demanded by the alleged accused Amanjot Singh using the Right to Information Act (RTI). This prompted the DGP office to shift inquiry to the VB.
Police and the complainant want to drop the case, while the accused (whistle-blower) Amanjot doesn’t want it to be dropped until the police take responsibility of the erring officers of tehsildar office and the department’s ‘shoddy probe.’ He also wants them to take responsibility for selling a prime property at throwaway prices in the court auction.
Amanjot was booked on the statement of former Akali sarpanch Bhim Singh of Ageta village in Nabha, who never lodged any FIR. Bhim Singh and police now want cancellation of the case, but one of the accused, Amanjot Singh, doesn’t want it.
The case relates to auction of a plot in August 19, 2013 on directions of the court. While the Nabha civil court, in a recovery suit, had ordered the tehsildar to auction 175 square yard of a total 492 square yard of the plot of M/s Banarsi Dass Ram Chand; the officials sold out the entire plot for mere ₹17.2 lakh, whereas the market value was more than ₹70 lakh at that point. Bidder Harjinder Singh deposited ₹4.3 lakh as 25% of the auction amount with tehsildar Jasgir Singh, who submitted a receipt to this effect.
Finding that their entire plot was sold against the order of selling only 6.5 marla (175 yard), M/s Banarasi Dass approached the court and additional district judge Dr Rajneesh set aside the auction on September 8, 2015, citing that the auction was for mere 6.5 marla, whereas the entire plot was sold out by taking wrong auction warrants.
On knowing that the property has slipped from their hands and to recover the ‘bribe money’ paid to the tehsildar office staff, Harjinder lodged a complaint with the Nabha DSP, stating that some property dealers and employees of the tehsildar’s office had cheated him of ₹17.2 lakh in the auction of the plot, and issued a slip of only ₹4.2 lakh, which is a forged slip, naming an outsourced employee Amanjot Singh for this fraud.
When Amanjot, who was not present at the auction, procured all documents using the RTI Act, and acting as a whistle-blower, and lodged a parallel complaint of violation of auction rules by the officials, nailing the involvement of Akali sarpanch Bhim Singh in purchase of the property in the name of Harjinder Singh against the rules of auction. It also proved that the auction was ‘fixed’ as only three persons participated in it, and they were actually from one team.
Against the accusation that he issued a wrong slip, Amanjot produced a slip procured under the RTI, in which tehsildar Jagsir Singh had admitted that he took ₹4.25 lakh, nullifying all allegations against Amanjot.
As police is not nailing the accused, Amanjot approached the DGP, who ordered a fresh inquiry. Following the orders, superintendent of police (SP) Vigilance Bureau, Prithipal Singh, has started probe into the case.