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Monday, Aug 26, 2019

Bathinda Wakf land scam: Ex-Gidderbaha councillor, 4 others booked

They are accused of grabbing the 18-acre land on the Bathinda outskirts and selling it by carving out an illegal colony

punjab Updated: Jun 07, 2017 10:07 IST
Prabhjit Singh
Prabhjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Bathinda

Four days after HT reported the Wakf Land scam, police on Tuesday registered an FIR against Gidderbaha’s former Akali councillor-turned-Congressman Rajesh Kumar, aka Bittu Gandhi, and four others accused of grabbing the 18-acre land on the Bathinda outskirts and selling it by carving out an illegal colony.

Bittu, whose wife Chandni is now a Congress councillor in Gidderbaha, had been a SAD councillor till 2011. He later joined Manpreet Badal’s People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) and moved along with him into the Congress fold. The other accused named in the FIR are Vijay Kumar, Dev Raj and Sanjeev Kumar, all hailing from Gidderbaha town, and Bathinda resident Kamaljit Kaur.

None of the accused has been arrested so far. “Raids are on,” said the cops.

IPC sections left out of FIR

The Bathinda police have booked the accused under Section 52 (A) of the Wakf Act, even as Bathinda deputy commissioner Diparva Lakra had written to senior superintendent of police (SSP) Navin Singla to register a case for not only encroaching and carving out illegal plots but also cheating.

The cops, however, have not included Section 420 (cheating) or any other relevant section of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the FIR.

Singla said Section 52 (A) of the Wakf Act is “sufficient in itself as it is non-bailable and cognisable”. He said the section was imposed after taking legal opinion of the district attorney.

The district administration had come into action and asked the police to lodge a case after the HT report (Wakf land scam: Flood reveals encroachment of graveyard by colonisers in Bathinda) on June 2. Following it, Bathinda Wakf Board estate officer (EO) Ashraf Mohammad had filed a fresh complaint with the DC, maintaining that all the previous complaints remained unfruitful.

“The Wakf Board had been writing to the district administration and the police about the encroachment in the past as well, but to no avail,” the Wakf Board's complaint stated, as mentioned in the FIR.

The deputy commissioner has told HT that all poor families cheated by the five accused would get back the money they paid to settle at the illegal colony.

First Published: Jun 07, 2017 09:49 IST

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