Ludhiana,(Sat Pal Soni ): Irrigation scam was put forward by last Congress Government with great pomp and show but the reality is far different. Rather than irrigation scam, it was attached to internal bickering of IAS officers which later on, from Irrigation scam, became vigilance scam. Under the patronage of one retired IAS officer who was all-in-all in Congress Government some officers of vigilance definitely have made a fortune out of it. These facts were revealed by Harish Rai Dhanda, Senior Advocate during the course of his press conference.
He revealed that this fight started from appointment of one retired IAS officer as Principal Chief Secretary. One his appointment, one IAS officer who was in the race to become Chief Secretary was put into dock. That officer got one writ petition filed in Hon’ble High Court through his favoured lawyers and got paid fee through contractors, who was later on made main accused in this case. As a retaliation against the writ petition filed on his appointment, Vigilance officers were put into motion to cobble up this irrigation scam in which many senior officers of Irrigation Department were also arrested.
Ultimately, charge sheet was submitted against the contractor and some officers in which nowhere there was any confessional statement of contractor but later on, under his directions, one forged and fabricated confessional statement was made by antedating the same involving former ministers as well as IAS officers. The name of minister was merely added to make it sensational. On dissection, one would come to know that there was nothing in this scam. Negative publicity was made that there is scam of Rs.1000 Crores whereas, on presentation of challan, it came to light that the entire work done by that contractor was worth Rs.1000 Crores out of which faults were found on the work worth Rs.100 crores only. In every contract, there is a scope of 10% profit for the contractor but now hill was created out of a mole. In this Rs.100 Crores analogies contract, 90 Crores worth property was attached which was that scam what was the pilferage money regarding which vigilance department has been talking till date.
Thereafter, by using the sword, money was collected by illegal means from the contractors and officers. In this case, one IAS rank officer who used to draw instructions from Principal Secretary started making illegal money by calling Irrigation officers to the Vigilance office. It is interesting to note that initially, they raised objections regarding work worth Rs.200 Crores but from time to time, work worth Rs.130/135 Crores was left out of the scrutiny.
In fact, last government did not pay attention to the Irrigation system and today, Punjab is suffering water loss. In the recent past, indicted main engineers have given representation to Chief Minister Bhagwant Maan, in which they have highlighted high-handedness meted out against them by the vigilance officers. They also highlighted that out of the work executed of 1000 of Crores, only 12 items have been selected in which rate of tender was more, whereas in others, even higher percentage of rates were given, but those works were ignored due to special reasons and the vigilance bureau due to ulterior motives, left them out of the enquiry. It is very important that tenders were allotted by online bidding which was totally transparent. Moreover, the works allotted during past congress government of irrigation department, tenders have been issued above the audit rate at far more percentage i.e. between 30 to 50%, which have not even opened and checked about its genuineness. Chief Principal Secretary appointed in the office of Chief Minister Capt.Amrinder Singh, has also remained Secretary of Irrigation Department during past, but that tenure was not taken for checking because he has committed many acts of omission and commission.
Harish Rai Dhanda pointed fingers against one of the investigating officers, who during his tenure as Jail Superintendent is alleged to have raped lady inmate and Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, the then I.G., got the matter enquired and a case of rape was registered and who has also brought in the enquiry that this officer is harassing irrigation officials collecting money and used to keep that money with this girl. There are even allegations of illegally encroaching the forest land which is under investigation. He also stated that when this confessional statement was taking rounds in the media and political opponents were using it as a tool to malign Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Former Minister and Sh.Kahan Singh Pannu, IAS, then they sent defamation notice to this contractor whose confessional statement was in circulation and the contractor, in his reply to both of them, denied having made any confessional statement and also stated that it does not even bear his signatures and further stated that no such statement has been made part of the final report submitted in the Court against him.
The said contract has also approached the Hon’ble High Court against the illegal case framed against him and the Hon’ble High Court has stayed the further proceedings in the case.That almost 2-3 years back, vigilance department has sought permission to enquire against the IAS officer and former minister and the former Chief Minister has made note over it that report be sought from Irrigation, Personnel and Parliamentary Affairs Department. They have given their detailed report rejecting the proposal to give sanction and have specifically quoted that as per the business rules, there is no connection between the allegations and the alleged minister and officers.
It is further quoted that if there is any confessional statement as per settled law of Hon’ble Supreme Court, such confessional statement is not admissible under law. Thereafter, a note was put that if any fresh evidence comes on the file, then that should be put before the CM in two days. Ironically, after lapse of months, there is no response till date. Harish Rai Dhanda also revealed that from all these facts, it has come out very clearly that this case is an outcome of settlement of personal vendettas between senior IAS officers. He also demanded that embezzlement of crores of rupees in Electricity Department regarding coal washing payment, which was compromised and not contested in Court fully, in that regard, the role of this officer should be got investigated by this Government.
During this press conference, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon was also present, who stated that during the last Congress Government, these below the belt punches have been given due to political vendetta which has caused great pain to him. He claimed that he has a long political journey, in which he has remained Chairman of Milk Plant, Member of Parliament, Chairman Punjab Agro, Director MARKFED (Punjab), Minister of PWD Department and his work has been spotless, without any finger pointed against him. He also stated that Bureaucracy under Congress government has meted out highhandedness against them and tried to malign their image, but this government has come riding on the promise of giving honest administration and he expects as per their words that they will give justice and close this chapter at earliest.
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1250500cookie-checkDuring the last Congress Government, irrigation scam was created to settle personal scoresyes
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Sat Pal Soni (Editor)