September 10, 2017 08:57 PM


Amritsar (Face2News)

The various layers of the recently unearthed Amritsar Improvement Trust scam have started unfolding with the initiative taken by the Local Government Minister, Punjab, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu and the probe in the matter has been handed over to the Amritsar police after the departmental enquiry. Making disclosures regarding this here today during a press conference, Mr. Sidhu said that the initial probe got underway from the 3 bank accounts in which there was an inkling of a scam to the tune of Rs. 2-3 crore whereas on being probed by the departmental officers the net has widened to 70 bank accounts and now there is possibility of the siphoning of approximately Rs. 80 crore. He said that the departmental officials allegedly involved in the scam transferred money out of the Governmental accounts in the name of their relatives and the scam remained under wraps for want of any departmental audit.

Divulging more, Mr. Sidhu under whose jurisdiction the department falls, said that on the basis of the probe headed by the Chief Vigilance Officer of the department Mr. Sudip Singh Manak, the police has registered a case against E.O. Arvind Sharma, E.O. D.C. Garg, E.O. Paramjit Singh, DCFA Daman Bhalla, Mrs. Tina Vohra, C.A. Sanjay Kapoor and Bill Clerk Satnam Singh. The minister further said that the money has been withdrawn by issuing 49 cheques under the signatures of Arvind Sharma, Mr. Garg issuing 2 cheques under his signatures and Paramjit Singh issued 3 cheques under his signatures. The minister added that all the alleged wrongdoers would be suspended and chargesheeted. He made it absolutely clear that any person found guilty in the scam would not be spared at all, whether any leader or officer all guilty would have to face the law. The minister also said that full freedom has been given to the police to investigate the matter minutely so as to put those persons behind the bars who have looted public money.

Mr. Sidhu further divulged that the C.A. of the department never cared to probe the scam inspite of the fact that the government auditor raised 631 objections on the works carried out by these people. He also said that this might be the biggest improvement trust scam till date in which so gross loot of the public money might have been indulged in. Announcing to put a stop to such scams in future, Mr. Sidhu said that third party audit of all the trusts would be carried out mandatorily to unearth the truth. He also disclosed that the works done by the Local Government department during the previous period have been accomplished at more cost than Chandigarh and Haryana and in the process the department has been the loser. He further informed that the matter pertaining to irregularities in the installation work of highest Tricolour the wagah border had also come to light and it is being probed. The minister said that he is not afraid of those indulging in loot of the Punjab and would take the fight to its logical conclusion.

On the occasion, the Chief Vigilance Officer of the department Mr. Sudip Singh Manak said that the modus operandi of the alleged scamsters involved was that they used to deposit the money pertaining to the improvement trust in the different bank accounts, which used to be in the name of the trust, and then withdraw the amount on the pretext of various works such as disbursal of salaries and other tasks by writing letters to the bank regarding the same. Besides this, it has also come to the fore in the preliminary investigation that these people made drafts in the names of their relatives and got them encashed. He further elaborated that many bank accounts were not even entered in the cash book of the department. He said that more disclosures could be in the offing in the matter which could unmask more wrongdoers.

Among others present on the occasion included the Deputy Commissioner Mr. Kamaldeep Singh Sangha and the Commissioner of Police Mr. S. Srivastav.

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