M A I N   N E W S

Annoyed with red tape, martyr’s kin turns
Naveen S Garewal and Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
Assistant Sub-inspector Nanak Chand’s family was not very hopeful till this morning about the nation recognising his sacrifice in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001. Fighting red tape for the past five year, when the Union Government promised to give the martyr’s family a petrol pump that it said would be up and running in four months, the family out of frustration today approached the All India Anti Terrorist Front (AIATF).

In a sting operation that followed, a peon in the Regional Office of Ministry of Environment and Forests, here, was caught red handed taking a bribe of Rs 3000 on behalf of his superior for issuing a ‘no objection certificate’.

Inderjit Singh and Ganga Devi, son and widow of the former Personal Security Officer (PSO) attached to the then Vice-President of India , though happy at turning ‘whistle blowers’, are still unsure about the fate of their promised source of income. The family of the former Delhi Police cop is virtually on the roads with the nation paying little heed to the plight of its brave son who died along with eight others.

After their world plunged into darkness following the death of the sole bread earner, a ray of hope kindled among the kin of Nanak Chand after the Union Government announced that it would provide a petrol pump to the widow. In the frenzy that followed the attack on Parliament, the government went to the extent of saying that the pump would be fully functional in a period of four months. But till date the pump has not become a reality. In the process, the family has ended up spending whatever little savings it had in commuting between Sonepat, where they are based, and Chandigarh, from where scores of clearances are required.

In a final act of desperation, after the officials concerned at the Regional Office of Conservator of Forest and Environment, Northern Zone, under the Ministry of Environment and Forests demanded a bribe for moving the file forward, Inderjit Singh approached the AIATF President, Mr. Maninderjit Singh Bitta, who in turn took his city head, Mr. Rajesh Kumar into confidence and planned a sting operation.

The sting operation executed at the office of the Conservator of Forest and Environment was recorded on camera. Soon after a peon accepted a bribe of Rs 3000 from Inderjit Singh, the members of the AIATF, waiting outside descended on the scene and nabbed the peon, Gurmukh Singh along with the money. Mr. Bitta later told The Tribune that the tape with the recording would be handed over to the police. He further said that the currency had been withdrawn from the AIATF bank account at New Delhi and the serial number of the notes has been recorded at the bank for the purpose of evidence.

Gurmukh Singh, however told media persons that he had accepted bribe on behalf of Rajesh Kumar, Personal Assistant of Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, Nodal Officer in this office.

Giving out details of the incident, Inderjit Singh, who is the complainant in this case, alleged that he had applied for a NOC to set up a petrol station in Sector 34, Gurgaon. He said during a visit to this office on Thursday, he was asked by Rajesh Kumar to give ‘gratification’ before he could get the NOC. “Since, I was in no position to pay, I reported the matter to the AIATF. I agreed to be a party to the sting operation that finally led to exposing the racket in this office”, he said.

Mr Bitta further disclosed that he had been approached earlier too by the widow of Nanak Chand. “I was extremely moved by the supreme sacrifice made by him and wanted to help the family. When Inderjit approached me again today, we decided to take this case to a logical conclusion”.

The matter was reported to the Chandigarh Police, who in turn asked Mr. Bitta to report the same to the UT Vigilance Department. Following investigations, the UT Vigilance Department booked Gurmukh Singh and Rajesh Kumar, peon and PA in the office, under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Both were later arrested.

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