Chandigarh, September 26
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today arrested state Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Parveen Kumar (IFS) in the alleged forest scam in which former ministers Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Sangat Singh Gilzian were earlier booked.
A Vigilance Bureau (VB) spokesperson claimed that Parveen had disclosed during questioning that Gilzian, as Forest Minister, allegedly pressured him to arrange funds for contesting the recent Assembly poll. The spokesperson said the arrest was made in an ongoing investigation into the alleged organised corruption by the two forest ministers.
The VB said as part of the “scam”, the accused allegedly committed illegalities in the posting of officials, cutting and selling of khair trees, issuing NOCs to commercial establishments and purchase of tree guards worth crores. The VB claims to have found incriminating oral, documentary and circumstantial evidence against the IFS officer.
Parveen remained the CEO, PunCAMPA, and the nodal officer for issuing NOCs in the Forest Department. He was appointed the Principal Chief Conservator in October 2021, days after Gilzian became the Forest Minister.
The spokesperson said Parveen allegedly hatched a conspiracy with Gilzian’s nephew Daljit Singh and one Vipul Sehgal, and introduced the duo to Conservator of Forests Vishal Chauhan, “asking him to organise the supply of tree guards to the Forest Department without the mandatory invitation of tenders”.
Consequently, crores of rupees were allegedly embezzled under the garb of purchase of tree guards in association with other co-accused, including Nitin Bansal, Binder Singh, Sachin Mehta and Vipul Sehgal, the Vigilance Bureau said. The spokesperson said Gilzian and Parveen allegedly bypassed norms to issue transfer orders of 23 executive field officials on January 1, 2022, a day prior to the implementation of the poll code in Punjab, “after taking money from them”.
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