Bathinda, September 25
The Vigilance Bureau (VB) has registered a criminal and corruption case against former Finance Minister Manpreet Badal and four others over purchasing plots ‘illegally’.
A VB spokesperson said the case had been registered on a complaint of Bathinda (City) former MLA Saroop Chand Singla.
He said three persons had been arrested — Rajiv Kumar of New Shakti Nagar, Amandeep Singh of Lal Singh Basti and Vikas Arora of Tagore Nagar, Bathinda.
The spokesperson said they found during a probe that Manpreet had used his political clout to purchase two plots totalling 1,560 sq yards in Model Town, Phase 1, Bathinda, causing a financial loss to the state exchequer.
He said the former minister colluded with officials of the Bathinda Development Authority (BDA), who uploaded fake maps to prevent the participation of public in the bidding process in 2021.
The plot numbers 725-C (560 sq yd) and 726 (1,000 sq yd) were shown as commercial property instead of residential and the plots were not shown in the map on e-auction portal, he said.
The digital signatures of Balwinder Kaur, Administrative Officer, BDA, were used for the auction without her permission.
The VB found that the bids of the sole three bidders — Rajiv, Vikas and Amandeep — were submitted by advocate Sanjiv Kumar from the similar IP address and same place. Both plots were purchased by bidders in 2021 at a lower rate fixed in 2018, which caused a financial loss of around Rs 65 lakh to the government, the spokesperson said.
Later, Manpreet purchased both plots through agreements from the bidders known to him before they got allotment letters from the BDA, he said, adding that the former minister had also transferred 25 per cent earnest money in advance to the successful allottees.
- Plot numbers 725-C and 726 were shown as commercial property instead of residential and were not uploaded on e-auction portal
- Digital signatures of Balwinder Kaur, Administrative Officer, BDA, were used for the auction without her permission
- Three sole bids in the name of Rajiv, Vikas and Amandeep were submitted by lawyer Sanjiv Kumar from the same IP address
- Later, Manpreet purchased these plots through agreements from the bidders before they got allotment letters
Hearing on pre-arrest bail today
- Manpreet Badal has already filed a pre-arrest bail application, which will come up for hearing on September 26
- The three accused were presented in the court on Monday, which remanded them in three-day VB custody
- Then CA of Bathinda Development Authority Bikramjit Shergill has also been booked but hasn’t been nabbed yet
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