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Posted at: Feb 12, 2018, 2:16 AM; last updated: Feb 12, 2018, 2:16 AM (IST)

Irrigation scam: Challan filed against contractor

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10

The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has filed a challan in the SAS Nagar court against contractor Gurinder Singh and retired engineers of the Irrigation Department in the multi-crore irrigation scam. Five irrigation officials and Gurinder, the alleged kingpin of the scam, have been arrested so far in the case.

A VBspokesperson said this first challan had been filed in the court to deny any benefit of default bail to Gurinder and the retired engineers who have been arrested so far. “Further investigation regarding the role of senior government functionaries and other aspects of this scam is under progress and supplementary challans would be submitted in due course of time,” he added.

In this first challan, the VB has covered three works — construction of Shahpur Kandi Hydel Dam work worth Rs 100 crore, Kandi Canal (Rs 15 crore) and the setting up of a small dam (Rs 25 crore) near Nara village in Hoshiarpur district. He added that the VB had asked the Irrigation Department to provide details of 42 projects executed which were being probed by the VBand have received documents of 35 projects to date.

He said many irregularities have been found in the construction of canal, including its cost escalation. The Kandi canal, including the dam work, was initiated in advance before the Shahpur Kandi Dam work was completed to favour the contractor, he added.

He said investigation had revealed many discrepancies during the construction of the dam and its reservoir at Nara village for agricultural purpose where accused Gurinder benefitted about Rs 2 crore. The accused contractor had received a payment of Rs 1 crore illegally from the department. He lifted the soil from the village but did not return Rs 80 lakh for the same.

It was also part of the challan that during the construction of this dam, the accused contractor had illegally scrapped a small hill belonging to the state for filling purposes but received huge payments by claiming the transportation cost of soil to the construction site. In this case, measurement books were also destroyed by irrigation officials.

Kingpin’s income swelled 100 times 

During the investigation, it was noticed that during 2006-07, the annual turnover of the alleged kingpin of the scam, contractor Gurinder Singh, was only Rs 4.74 crore and it swelled to approx Rs 300 crore during 2016-17. The VB said officers of the Irrigation Department also compromised with the quality and quantity of material in the works executed by the said contractor to get more commission/illegal gratification.

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