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Punjab Govt. takes on board India Narrative expose on Rs 1200 crore Patiala land scam

Representational image. Sprawling Baradari Gardens in Patiala which is in the centre of the Rs,1,200 crore land scam (Pic. Courtesy hellotravel.com)

Acting on a report of indianarrative.com published on September 28, the Punjab government has directed the Revenue Secretary, Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia, to submit an in-depth report suggesting the next course of legal and executive action to be taken with regard to the Rs 1200 crore Patiala land scam.

The land is located at the famous Baradari Gardens in the heart of Patiala and government offices have been functioning from the prime location for over 80 years,

Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), KAP Sinha told indianarrative.com today that the government had “taken cognisance of the news report and asked the Secretary of the Revenue Department to study all aspects of the matter in consultation with legal experts and submit a report at the earliest.”

Sinha explained that after completing the file work, the government is likely to file an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the judgment of the trial court that acquitted all the accused in the allegedly fraudulent registration case pertaining to 6000 square yards of government land that was transferred to the names of private persons. All necessary steps would be taken in a civil court, to get this registration cancelled, he added.

Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia, Secretary, Department of Revenue, said that he would submit his report to the government within this week.

“I have gone through the news report and have discussed the matter with the Additional Chief Secretary,” adding, “we are at work on the matter.”

The Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala, Ranjit Kumar Jain passed an order on September 15 acquitting all the accused in the criminal case registered by the Vigilance Bureau in 2012 against the three buyers of the land and four facilitating officers.

The Session Court’s acquittal order strengthens the claim of the buyers of government land in the suit for possession filed by them in a civil court of Patiala.

The then Parkash Singh Badal-led government, in its wisdom, did not grant prosecution sanction with regard to an IAS officer Vikas Garg, now Secretary of the Transport Department who was mentioned as one of the key figures in the scam. It helped him escape the legal scrutiny of a trial in court. Garg was earlier posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Patiala when the sale-purchase deeds were registered at his instance, leading to the committing of the fraud.

Garg’s predecessor DC Deepinder Singh, an IAS officer, had in his 7-page order, held that the sale-purchase deeds of three buyers of the land could not be registered as they were trying to usurp prime government land now valued at over Rs 1200 crore.