Punjab: DDPO, BDPO and Panchayat Secy arrested in multi-crore Jheurheri panchayat land purchase scam

February 21, 2018 11:04 PM

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Vigilance Bureau today arrested former SAS Nagar District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) Gurvinder Singh Sarao, Malvinder Singh BDPO and a Panchayat Secretary for committing misappropriation of about Rs. 8 crores regarding purchase of agricultural and commercial land at a cost of Rs. 23.62 crore for gram panchayat Jheurheri, SAS Nagar district with the compensation amount received from the government for acquisition of 36 acre panchayat land for construction of international airport. The Mohali court has sent all the accused for 2 days vigilance remand.

Disclosing this here today Vigilance Bureau Chief Director-cum-ADGP Mr BK Uppal said the investigation into the land purchase scam in Fatehgarh Sahib and Mohali districts has revealed bungling of crores of rupees by the accused officers and private persons. In this case the Bureau has registered a case under Sections 409, 420, 465, 467, 471, 120-B IPC and Section 13 (1) (d) read with 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act against the officers posted at that time which includes Gurvinder Singh Sarao DDPO, Malvinder Singh BDPO, Ravinder Singh Panchayat Secretary, Gurpal Singh Sarpanch Jheurheri besides Surinder Singh of Mulepur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mohamad Sohel of Sector 79, Mohali, Darshan Singh of Hallomajra, Chandigarh UT, Swarn Singh of village Tiwana, Mohali district and Darshan Singh of Kanwarpur (Uksi Jattan), Patiala district.

Mr Uppal informed that total 36 acres Shamlat Deh of gram panchayat Jheurheri in SAS Nagar district was acquired for construction of International Airport, Mohali for which Rs 1.50 crore per acre compensation was awarded and the government had released Rs 54.17 crore to the panchayat which were placed at the disposal of Director, Rural Development and Panchayats instead of Jheurheri Panchayat.

He added that the Panchayats Department had also found irregularities in the purchase of land in two villages of Fatehgarh Sahib and Mohali district and pointed out connivance of department officers and others. "The land was shown to have been purchased at exorbitant rate than the prevailing market rate at far off places against the interests of Jheurheri panchayat without taking prior sanction from the competent authority as required under the Act and Rules of the department and crores of amount has been swindled by the Sarpanch, department officers and other private persons", he added.

Vigilance Chief said Gurvinder Singh Sarao, who is presently posted as Additional Deputy Commissioner at Mansa, along with accused BDPO and village Sarpanch did not get prior approval of the government before purchasing land at Fatehgarh Sahib and Mohali for the gram panchayat as per the laid down provisions. "The then DDPO Sarao had allowed the accused Sarpanch to purchase land though he is not competent to do so", he informed.

He added that accused Sarpanch in connivance with above mentioned officers and others had purchased more than 25 acres of agricultural land in village Karimpura and Kandipura in Fatehgarh Sahib district by spending a whopping sum of Rs 13.62 crore at a rate of Rs 54 lakh per acre approximately against the prevailing collector’s rate of Rs 9.77 lakh. Even the market rate of the land in question was between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 17 lakh per acre. The accused have siphoned off about Rs. 6.45 crore by mentioning higher rates paid to the buyers. "As per the report of Deputy Commissioner Fatehgarh Sahib, the prevailing collector rate was 9.77 lakh per acre in the villages Karimpura and Kandipur in tehsil Bassi Pathana, where the land was purchased. The accused persons usurped an amount of Rs.6,45,56,656/- of the Panchayat in this purchase of land", said Mr Uppal.

Vigilance Chief revealed that corruption has also been detected in the purchase of 6,700 Sq. Yards commercial land in Sanauli village, SAS Nagar by the above mentioned accused persons for Rs 10,11,70,000 crore. In this case the accused committed a fraud of Rs. 1.50 crore approximately and had mentioned higher rates than the paid amount the party. This land was purchased by the accused Sarpanch in connivance with his relative Darshan Singh of Village Kanwarpur (Uksi Jattan), Darshan Singh Hallomajra, UT Chandigarh and Swarn Singh of village Tiwana in Fatehgarh Sahib district. The then BDPO Sarao and DDPO Dhillon had accorded sanction to the gram panchayat Jheurheri to purchase land without approval of competent authorities, he informed.

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