Chandigarh, October 1
Fearing legal action, beneficiaries, including government officials, who had allegedly fleeced the state government by getting enhanced compensation on the basis of a fake girdawari showing guava orchards have been depositing money in the guava orchard compensation scam in the past more than a month.
So far, Rs 38.12 crore have been deposited by 25 beneficiaries and another 22 are yet to deposit the requisite amount of Rs 13.96 crore.
As per the probe done by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, 106 beneficiaries, including 11 government officials, had obtained wrongful compensation to the tune of Rs 138 crore. Of these, the court had directed 47 to deposit Rs 52.08 crore. The VB has arrested 20 of them, while another 38 got anticipatory bail, and 41 are still absconding.
The issue pertains to 2016-17, when GMADA had started the process of acquisition of 1651.59 acres for setting up Aerotropolis Residential Project at Bakarpur, Rurka, Chatt, Safipur and Naraingarh (708.78 acres), Mattran, Manauli and Siaun (206.39 acres), Patton (242.54 acres), Saini Majra and Chau Majra (493.88 acres) villages of Mohali district.
However, the lid was blown off the scam when the land sellers (who sold their land in 2018-20) stated that there were no guava trees present at the time of sale. The accused beneficiaries had exploited the provisions of the Act by obtaining about Rs 138 crore compensation for the ‘trees’ said to be situated on about 198 acres (of these 180 acres were situated in Bakarpur village only). The Vigilance Bureau had registered an FIR in this case under various sections of the IPC in May.
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