Thursday, June 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Searches yield property worth Rs 1.8 crore
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, June 12
Moveable and immovable property worth Rs 1.80 crore in the form of cash, jewellery, property and fixed deposits was claimed to have been seized by the CBI from the bank lockers and houses of former acting Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Chairman of the Oil Selection Board M. R. Agnihotri and members of his family here today.

Sources in the CBI said a total of 144 petrol stations were allotted during Agnihotri’s tenure as Chairman of the Oil Selection Board. The sources added that out of 144 petrol stations, about 100 were allegedly allotted ignoring norms. One such petrol station, allotted to Ms Saroj in Ludhiana, was allegedly given to her at a premium of Rs 30 lakh.

The CBI, which raided the Sector 9 house of the former Judge in connection with an alleged petrol station allotment scam, also seized documents related to flats, a plot and a SCF in Sector 19, most of which have allegedly been registered at much lower prices than the original cost, said highly placed sources in the CBI.

The sources said Agnihotri and members of his family owned a three-kanal (500 sq yard) palatial house in Sector 9, a shop-cum-flat in Sector 19 valued at about Rs 60 lakh, a plot in Sector 12, Panchkula, a flat each in Kalka Ji Extension, New Delhi, Rohni, and Sarswati Vihar, Gurgaon.

The sources said the SCF in Sector 19 had been registered for Rs 2.5 lakh (the CBI has also found agreement of sale at Rs 18 lakh), the flat at Rohni is registered for Rs 7 lakh while the ongoing prices are somewhere between Rs. 15 to 20 lakh.

Sleuths of the CBI today opened the three bank lockers of the Agnihotri family in the State Bank of Patiala, Sector 8, here.. One of the lockers in the name of Ms Urvashi, wife of Mr Deepak Agnihotri, reportedly contained gold jewellery worth about Rs 5 lakh, Rs 60,000 in cash and FDRs valued at Rs 5,48,153. Another locker owned by Ms Taru, wife of the elder son, Mr Girish Agnihotri, yielded Rs 50,000 in cash and five to six tolas of gold. The third locker contained gold jewellery weighing about 1.5 kg and bonds, LIC papers and other documents. Interestingly, the CBI sleuths found over 50 pass books of various banks from the locker, sources said. According to them, it was one of the biggest seizure of pass books by the agency. Besides, the Agnihotri family owns a Tata Safari and two Maruti Zen cars. The Sector 9 house has household goods estimated at Rs 25 lakh, said highly placed sources.

Attempts to contact Agnihotri did not bear any result as the whereabouts of the former Judge were not known.

The CBI has not confirmed whether the former Judge has been arrested or not.

Agnihotri and two others, Saroj Rani of Sangrur and K. C. Garg have been booked under Sections 120B/420, 420, 467, 468, 471 of the IPC and Section 31D of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998.

Saroj Rani and Garg have been booked for allegedly using fraudulent means to get a petrol station in Ludhiana.

Saroj Rani was allegedly selected for the allotment of a petrol station due to exceptionally high marks given to her by Agnihotri in the interview. She is alleged to have submitted fake documents with her application.

Garg, a businessman from Ludhiana is alleged to be controlling by more than five to six petrol stations. He allegedly controlled the petrol station through Saroj Rani. The CBI will investigate all allotments of petrol stations made during the tenure of Agnihotri, the sources said. The agency has also invited complaints from unsuccessful candidates in the selection process of allotment of petrol stations.


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