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Punjab Govt. transfers Rs 1200 crore land scam file to another IAS officer to avoid delay

The Rs.1,200 crore land scam involving Baradari Gardens in Patiala has been transferred to another IAS officer for speedy action (Pic. Courtesy hellotravel.com)

After being unhappy over the delay caused by Revenue Secretary Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia in recommending the next course of action in the infamous Patiala land scam case worth Rs 1200 crore, the Punjab government has transferred the matter to another IAS officer, considered more competent, to speed up further legal action that the government wants to take.

Ranjit Kumar Jain, the Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala on September 15 acquitted all the 7 accused “scamsters” who wanted to grab 6000 sq yards of government property, based on 3 dubious sale deeds, which were termed as “fake” by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

In the first week of October, the Punjab government took cognisance of the indianarrative.com report dated September 28 and asked the Revenue Department to take further legal recourse in the matter. The Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue KAP Sinha referred the matter to Revenue Secretary Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia for studying all the aspects of the matter and submitting a report recommending what the government should do next.

According to sources, Sandhawalia sat on the file for more than one month and after reminders submitted a grossly inadequate report making no specific recommendation. A perplexed government transferred the file to another officer to study all aspects and make an actionable recommendation.

Sinha told indianarrative.com, “I have given it to another officer who shall not be influenced…to submit the report immediately.”

Earlier, Sandhawalia had said that it was a case related to Patiala and that DC Sakshi Sawhney IAS should be responsible for recommending the next course of action.

Legal experts explain that there is a time limitation clause governing the filing of appeals in the High Court against the judgment of the lower court. In the present case, it is three months. After the expiry of the limitation period, the High Court, may or may not, agree to hear the case. Although two months have already lapsed since the lower court judgment was announced in the Patiala land scam case, still no legal paperwork has been done by the Punjab government to file an appeal in the High Court.

Besides, the government has also to decide about filing a civil suit in a court in Patiala to seek cancellation of the dubious sale deeds, or else the ‘suit-for-possession’ of the prime government land, filed by the “land mafia” may succeed. They have already gained legal strength by the judgment of the trial court which did not find them guilty of fraudulently getting sale deeds registered. The sale deeds were registered on the directions of the then DC Vikas Garg IAS, named by the VB as the main accused but the then Badal government allowed him to go scot-free by exempting him from undergoing the rigours of trial in the court.