(Officials favoured contractor Gurinder Singh in various projects worth more than Rs. 1,000 Cr )
Chandigarh, January 10: Punjab Vigilance Bureau has filed challan in the SAS Nagar court against contractor Gurinder Singh and retired engineers of Irrigation Department in the multi-crore Irrigation scam in which five irrigation officials and kingpin of the scam – contractor Gurinder Singh have been arrested so far. The case was registered under sections 120-B, 420, 467, 468, 471, 406, 409 of IPC and 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act for causing crores of rupees loss to the state exchequer in allotment and execution of various works of Irrigation department in the state after a thorough Vigilance Enquiry.
Disclosing this here spokesperson of Vigilance Bureau (VB) said this first challan has been filed in the court to deny any benefit of default bail to Gurinder Singh, the main accused and the retired engineers who have been arrested so far. “Further investigation regarding the role of senior government functionaries and private persons and various aspects of this scam is under progress, and supplementary challans would be submitted in due course of time in the trail court”, he added.
In this first challan, the VB has covered three works namely construction of Shahpur Kandi Hydel Dam work worth Rs. 100 crore, Kandi Canal (Rs. 15 crore approx) and setting-up of a small dam (Rs. 25 crore approx) near Nara village in Hoshiarpur district. To complete this multi-crore scam he added that the VB had asked the irrigation department to provide the details of 42 projects executed which were being probed by the Bureau and have received documents of 35 projects to date.
He said many irregularities have been found in the construction of canal including its cost escalation. Kandi canal including the Dam work was initiated in advance before the Shahpur Kandi Dam work was completed to favour the contractor, he added.
He said investigation has revealed many discrepancies during construction of dam and its reservoir at village Nara for agricultural purpose where accused Gurinder Singh was benefitted to the tune of about Rs. 2 crore. The accused contractor had received payment amounting to Rs. 01 crore illegally from the department and played mischief with the gram panchayats Nara while lifting the earth from the village land and did not return Rs. 80 lakh to the panchayat for this soil.
It was also part of the challan that during construction of this dam the accused contractor Gurinder Singh had illegally scrapped a small hill belonging to the state for filling purposes but received huge payments by claiming far distance for transporting soil to the construction site. In this case measurement books were also destroyed by the irrigation officials.
The spokesperson informed that during investigation it was found that the main accused Gurinder Singh was benefited running into crores by the accused government officials in connivance with each other during the previous 7-8 years. “They have allotted works with tailor made conditions at higher rates upto 27 percent above departmental rates to single bidder by flouting DNIT conditions and have caused a huge loss to the state exchequer.
During investigation it was also noticed that during the year 2006-07, annual turnover of the said contractor was only Rs. 4.74 crore and it swelled to approx. Rs.300 crores during the year 2016-17. He said the officers of irrigation department also compromised with the quality and quantity of material in the works executed by the said contractor to get more commission/illegal gratification.