Punjab multi-crore irrigation scam: Vigilance finds CD with ledger of bribe payment
The accused contractor reportedly paid to people at the helm of affairs in the previous and the current regime.Updated: Feb 03, 2018 09:49 IST
In a multi-crore scam in the state irrigation department for six years from 2010-2016, the vigilance bureau has unearthed a compact disc (CD) containing a ‘ledger’ with details of the bribe that the accused contractor, Gurinder Singh, reportedly paid to people at the helm of affairs in the previous and the current regime.
“If the details in the CD are attached with the investigation, many heads may roll. The vigilance is verifying every entry. The top bosses in the CMO have been informed.”
Gurinder and several others were awarded contracts of drainage repair over Rs 3,000 crore, through tailor-made conditions allegedly by senior bureaucrats and top officials of the irrigation department. He was favoured to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore in just seven contracts, the vigilance investigation has recorded. Investigation has also recorded that engineers of the irrigation department favoured Gurinder Singh and Company, a firm that Gurinder owned. He was allotted more than 60% of total works by cost, in violation of rules and guidelines of the department.
Gurinder had surrendered in court on December 14, after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal.
“Initially, Gurinder did not confess to having preparing any CD containing the ledger of the payments made. We had to work hard to get him to admit this,” a senior official with the vigilance told HT. Sources claimed that the ledger names two ministers in the previous SAD-BJP government, two senior MLAs of the Congress and a few senior IAS officers.
An official, who is part of the investigation team, claimed that Gurinder had kept this CD in the possession of a ‘close friend’ — a Congress MLA from Patiala district. At one time, this MLA used to sub-let work awarded to Gurinder.
“If the details in the CD are attached with the investigation, many heads may roll. The vigilance is verifying every entry. The top bosses in the chief minister’s office have been informed,” an official said. The enforcement directorate is also investigating the case.
Gurinder was close to senior Akali leaders and top bureaucrats, some of whom are still serving with the state government. He remained so influential that documents that were supposed to be in the custody of the irrigation department were recovered from his residence during vigilance raids. Scrutiny of documents also showed that the turnover of Gurinder’s company zoomed from Rs 4.5 crore to Rs 300 crore within a short span of time.