Patiala village sarpanch Harjit Kaur arrested for embezzling Rs 12.24 crore of panchayat fund : The Tribune India

Patiala village sarpanch Harjit Kaur arrested for embezzling Rs 12.24 crore of panchayat fund

Vigilance Bureau probe found that she undertook bogus development works to pocket the money

Patiala village sarpanch Harjit Kaur arrested for embezzling Rs 12.24 crore of panchayat fund

Photo used for representational purpose only. iStock

Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, August 9

Almost five months after it started a probe, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Tuesday arrested Harjit Kaur, sarpanch, Aakari village, in Patiala district for alleged embezzlement of panchayat funds amounting to Rs 12.24 crore in the name of development works in the village.

VB had already registered a FIR on May 26, 2022, under Sections 406, 420, 409, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of IPC and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act at Patiala in case relating to misappropriation of panchayats funds by various accused.

A State Vigilance Bureau (VB) spokesperson today said that Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) had acquired shamlat land measuring 1104 acres belonging to five different villages for construction of Amritsar-Kolkata Integrated Corridor.

“In this regard, a total amount of about Rs 285 crore was given to five villages namely Pabra, Takhtu Majra, Sehra, Sehri and Akari in Shambu Block, Patiala district. Out of this, an amount of about Rs 50 crore were received by Akari gram panchayat for their acquired land measuring 183 acres 12 marla,” he added.

During investigation, it came to light that Sarpanch Harjit Kaur initiated development works by using the above mentioned funds in the village, said VB officials. “But during the physical checking of these works by the technical team of VB, it was found that Harjit Kaur had misappropriated a large amount of funds by passing fake resolutions of gram panchayat for fake construction of village pond, community centre, cremation ground, panchayat ghar and berms of a drain. To prove the works as genuine, she released payments through cheques to different firms for these works,” he added.

A separate inquiry regarding these development works by using panchayat funds was completed by Additional Chief Secretary-cum Financial Commissioner Rural Development & Panchayats. “The department probe has found that embezzlement amounting to Rs 12.24 crores was committed in the development works by Sarpanch Harjit Kaur in Akari village,” claimed the VB spokesperson.

 No development work carried out

  • PUDA acquired panchayat land in five Patiala villages for the Amritsar-Kolkata Integrated Corridor
  • Around Rs 285 crore was paid to the panchayats; land cultivators were given displacement allowance of Rs 97.8 crore
  • Villagers later complained to the VB that there were several lacunae in the development works
  • The probe revealed panchayat released money without undertaking any development work

 

 

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