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Punjab Govt moving High Court in Rs 1,200 crore Patiala land scam case

Chandigarh, Nov 23, 2022- The Punjab government has decided to challenge the acquittal by a lower court of all the accused in the infamous Rs 1,200 crore Patiala land scam case.

Financial Commissioner Revenue (FCR) KAP Sinha has asked the Director of Prosecution to file an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the order of the trial court before the expiry of the limitation period.

The Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala, Ranjit Kumar Jain had on September 15 acquitted all the 7-accused who allegedly got 3 sale deeds of about 6000 sq yards of government prime land registered in their names.

Accepting the recommendation of Narinder Sangha, a retired PCS officer, FCR Sinha also issued orders to file a separate case in a civil court to get the registration of sale deeds of the prime land cancelled. The accused were seeking possession of the government land through a suit for possession claiming their sale deeds to be genuine. The criminal court acquitted them, finding that they had committed no fraud in getting the sale deeds registered, thereby strengthening their claim for possession of the land pending in the civil court of Patiala.

Earlier the FCR transferred the case from Revenue Secretary Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia as he was causing an inordinate delay in recommending the next course of action, and asked a retired officer Narinder Sangha, known for his competence in revenue matters. Sangha after studying the entire case made actionable recommendations within 7 days.

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 then transferred the file to Sangha.

The trouble started with the registering of the sale deeds in connivance with the then DC Vikas Garg IAS, named by the Vigilance Bureau as the main accused. The then Parkash Singh Badal-led government, in its wisdom, did not grant prosecution sanction with regard to 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’s predecessor DC Deepinder Singh 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 1,200 crore.

But Garg, as per the Vigilance Bureau charge sheet took a bribe of Rs 80 lakh and facilitated the registration of “fake” sale deeds. (Agency)

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