M A I N   N E W S

Ludhiana City Centre scam
Amarinder, Ch Jagjit named accused
Prabhjot Singh/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, his cabinet colleague Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and former Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust P S Sibia are among 19 accused named in the Ludhiana City Centre scam case registered by the Vigilance Bureau today.

One arrest has already been made in the case.

In the first case of corruption registered against the former Congress regime, the Vigilance Bureau claims to have already arrested one of 19 accused and has started looking for the remaining, including Capt Amarinder Singh and Chaudhary Jagjit Singh.

The person arrested in the case is Amit Sardana of Infrastructures Professionals Enterprises Private Limited of Delhi.

The case, first information report no 5 registered at police station, Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, has been registered under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code besides Section 7(1) (c) (d) read with 13(2) and 14 of the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of an in-depth inquiry conducted by the Vigilance Bureau.

The preliminary inquiry, according to sources, established that the Ludhiana City Centre scam caused an estimated minimum loss of Rs 1500 crore to Rs 3000 crore to the state exchequer. The chartered accountants associated with the inquiry estimated that a minimum loss of Rs 1500 crore had been caused to the state by this singular deal alone.

The inquiry also established that kickbacks of not less than Rs 100 crore were shared by some top men in the then Punjab Government and named among beneficiaries the then Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, local bodies minister Jagjit Singh and then chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust P.S. Sibia.

Of the remaining named in the case are either top officials of the companies involved, including Today Homes and Infrastructures limited, or their agents and go betweens. Besides Today Homes officials , there are three others also involved in the scam, the inquiry report said.

Efforts to reach Jagjit Singh and former Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust P S Sibia were in vain as they were not available. Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is in London and he, too, could not be contacted. But sources close to him had earlier indicated that he may return to India on March 26.

After assuming office, the new SAD-BJP regime had announced the scrapping of the Punjab State Vigilance Commission. It got the Punjab Vigilance Commission Act repealed as the first legislative decision of the new regime.

And it has been reiterating that the new regime would neither pursue agenda of vendetta nor victimize its political opponents. Only law would take its course claiming that cases on basis of hearsay or on basis of “rukas” would not be allowed to be registered.

Sources revealed that the first case registered today on the basis of extensive preliminary inquiry was conducted by officers of the Vigilance Bureau.



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