Pesticide scam: Challan at last against former agri director Mangal Singh Sandhu

The long-delayed challan (charge sheet) in the pesticide-scam case against former agriculture director Mangal Singh Sandhu was filed here on Monday.

punjab Updated: Jul 26, 2016 10:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Pesticide,Pesticide scam,former agri director
Mangal Singh Sandhu (HT File Photo)

The long-delayed challan (charge sheet) in the pesticide-scam case against former agriculture director Mangal Singh Sandhu was filed here on Monday.

Filed in the court of additional sessions judge Parminder Pal Singh, the challan paves way for starting the trial. Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) Swapan Sharma confirmed it. When challan against accused Vijay Kumar, Shubham Goyal, and Ankush was filed in May, police were waiting for the Punjab government to allow them to lay charges against Sandhu. Last week, the SSP said the permission had come.

The FIR filed at Rama on September 2, 2015, mentioned that police had seized spurious pesticides from Vijay and Shubham, partners in fertiliser company Coromandel Crop Sciences. Later, they arrested Ankush as supplier. Vijay alleged he paid Sandhu Rs 8 lakh as bribe to ply his trade, after which the-then agriculture director’s name was added to the FIR.

Also read: Took all decisions with minister’s nod, says ousted agri director

In SAS Nagar, Sandhu was named in a case of Oberon-pesticide deal. Last October 4, Bathinda police arrested from Chandigarh in the Rama case. After the Punjab and Haryana high court granted Sandhu bail, he came out of jail in December 2015. Last year in Punjab, spurious pesticides allowed whitefly to ravage cotton crop over two-third of the total 4.5-lakh hectares. The total loss was Rs 4,000 crore, which triggered farmers’ suicides in the cotton belt. This year, fearing another pest attack, farmers planted cotton over just 2.56 lakh hectares.

3 agri officers sent to judicial custody

A local court sent three agriculture department officers held with Rs 4.50 lakh on July 22 to judicial custody on Monday.

Also read: No field visit, but ‘extortionist agri officers’ had a field day

Joint director Sarabjit Singh Kandhari and two agriculture development officers — Vivek Shankar and Gurdyal Kumar were nabbed from a hotel here.

Ex-agri joint director held

The police have arrested former joint director of department of agriculture Nirankar Singh in connection with pesticide scam. Bathinda SSP Swapan Sharma said Nirankar Singh was arrested on Sunday night. He was sent to judicial custody by a Talwandi Sabo court on Monday.

Nirankar is accused of giving license to pesticide firms against norms. A case under sections 420 and 186 (for cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act, Essential Commodities Act, Khaad Control Act and Insecticides Act 1968 was registered at the Rama police station against four accused, including Vijay Kumar, Shubham Goyal, both pesticide dealers, Ankush, a pesticide supplier, and former director agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu, in September last year. They were later arrested.

First Published: Jul 26, 2016 10:23 IST