Hoshiarpur land scam : VB submits report to DGP; SAD leaders, officials among those indicted
After a delay of four months, the Punjab vigilance and anti-corruption bureau has completed the probe into multi-crore Hoshiarpur land acquisition scam in which ruling SAD leaders allegedly made crores by colluding with local officials and land mafia.punjab Updated: Jan 04, 2017 11:22 IST
After a delay of four months, the Punjab vigilance and anti-corruption bureau has completed the probe into multi-crore Hoshiarpur land acquisition scam in which ruling SAD leaders allegedly made crores by colluding with local officials and land mafia.
The probe that was ordered by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on June 24 this year after a series of reports appeared in Hindustan Times, was to be completed in six weeks. The special investigation team (SIT) set up by the VB took nearly six months to complete the probe. Sources said the probe got delayed due to political pulls and pushes, and technical issues coming in way.
The SIT was headed by vigilance bureau inspector general Shiv Kumar Verma with Ludhiana senior superintendent of police (vigilance) Rupinder Singh and Jalandhar superintendent of police (vigilance) Praveen Kanda the other members.
Verma said the probe report has been forwarded to the bureau head DGP Suresh Arora, who holds the charge. “To register an FIR, the probe needs to be approved by the chief vigilance officer (CVO),” said Shiv Kumar.
Sources in the VB told HT that the probe has recommended FIR against at least 20 stakeholders , including some Akali leaders and officials of the revenue department and district administration. Among the officials indicted in the probe are some patwaris, naib-tehsildars, besides well-connected land-sharks.
As per HT investigation, Hoshiarpur Market Committee chairman Avtar Singh Johal, councillor Harpinder Gill, and district co-operative bank chairman Satwinder Pal Singh Dhatt were among those who had allegedly bought the land notified for construction of new bypass for the four-laning of the Hoshiarpur-Chintpurni road with property rights already transferred to the National Highway Authority of Indian (NHAI) on November 2, 2015.
Later, they allegedly built illegal colonies on these sites and pocketed crores of rupees in compensation.
Sources said the Akali leaders whose names had cropped up in the scam are close to Garshankar MLA Surinder Singh Bhulewal and they were trying to put pressure through the chief minister office to “soften” the probe. Sources said the leaders had even met the chief minister.
HT was the first to report how politically well-connected land sharks had first bought the 100-acre land notified for acquisition at throwaway prices and then received hefty compensation. Local RTI activist Rajiv Vashisht is the whistleblower in the case.
On June 24, a day after the first report, the state government had transferred Hoshiarpur subdivisional magistrate (SDM) Anand Sagar Sharma, tehsildar Baljinder Singh, and naib-tehsildar Manjit Singh.