Acting on HT (Hindustan Times) expose on the land scam, the government on Friday transferred Hoshiarpur SDM Anand Sagar Sharma, tehsildar Baljinder Singh and naib tehsildar Manjit Singh.
The district transport officer had been given the additional charge of the SDM and Hoshiarpur DC has been directed to delegate the powers of tehsildar and naib tehsildar on temporary basis till further orders. Sources said the vigilance bureau has been given six weeks to probe the scam.
The government will take necessary action on the preliminary vigilance inquiry.
The tainted SAD-BJP government in Punjab, facing blot of drug menace and illegal sand mining has now trapped in another controversy of minting crores of rupees in jobs for cash racket and Hoshiarpur land scam.
SAD leaders were found diretly involved in the job for cash racket in PUNSUP, Revenue and Local bodies departments and land scam in Hoshiarpur.
Punjab Vigilance Bureau is already holding inquiry into the job for cash scam and names of some Akali Dal leaders have surfaced. It is also alleged that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is trying to save the skin of a senior SAD leaders who is considered key player in the racket.
Chief Minister has ordered inquiry into the Hoshiarpur land scam a day aftert the office of Prime Minister of India directed Additional Chief Secretary Nirmaljit Singh Kalsi to hold an inquiry into land scam and repoort directly to CM office. Badal has aked the Deputy Commissioner Hoshiarput to investigate the matter. Despite an assurance by CM that guilty would not be spared, it is unlikely that action would be takne against the Akali leaders.
In the job for cash scam, the roots of which leads to Uttar Pradesh, atleast four Akali Dal leaders are involved. The vacancies in various departments were filled on the basis of test conducted by Panjab Univesity Chandigarh but later it emerged that jobs of Inspector in PUNSUP, Junior Engineer in Local bodies department and Patwaris in Revenue department were sold between Rs.10 lakh to 50 lakhs each.
The name of Sukhpreet Singh of Bahtinda has came up as main agent of job racket. Manjit Singh of village Kothe Chet Singh Wala, Akali Dal sarpanmch is another accused who has close links with Badal family.The Vigilance Bureau has identified four ‘dalals’ of Mukatsar and Bathinda districts. Pritpal Sharma of Bhikhi has already been arrested by Vigilance Bureau. Sham Lal Gupta Akali councilor of Malout and Bittu Sarpanch are other suspects. Police has registered three cases against Sukhpreet Singh. He has reportedly collected Rs.1.60 crores from aspiring candidates.
In Hoshiarpur land scam the Akali leaders have cheated the farmers and bought notified land from them at cheap reates. They later got three to four times higher compensation from the government. After the issue was highlighted by print media and a complaint was made to PM office, an inquiry was oredred by PM office. In a bid to cover up the lapses, Punjab Chief Minister first ordered an inquiry by the Deputy Commissioner and next day asked Vigilance Department to probe the matter. Punjab Government has also shifted SDM, Tehsildar and Naib Tesildar of Hoshiarpur.
The scam involves three leaders of SAD Badal and some of relatives of Akali leaders. They allegedly earned Rs.100 crores overnight by buying the land notified for the four laning of a road. The Akali leaders are Avtar Singh Johal, Harpinder Gill and Satwinderpal Singh Dhatt. They bought the land notified for the project. The ownership rights of land were transferred to National Highway Authority of India. The Akali leaders built illegal colonies on the land and earned crores of rupees by getting huge compensation from NHAI. The revenue officials were involved in the scam.
video: ABP Sanjha