THE VIGILANCE Bureau (VB) on Saturday arrested former GMADA Chief Engineer Surinderpal Singh and two of his associates, Gurmej Singh and Mohit Kumar. The accused were produced in court and remanded in police custody till June 15. All three have been booked under sections 420, 506, 120-B IPC and 13(1)(d) and Section 13(2) PCA at VB Flying Squad-1 police station, Phase 8. VB officials told court that Surinderpal had amassed huge wealth from unknown sources and misused his office to give contracts to favour his aides and that they also raided the offices of Ek Onkar Construction Company in Ludhiana and recovered Rs 8 lakh cash and important documents. Singh was booked for allegedly favouring some construction companies besides transacting the accounts of his family and their bogus firms.
The VB teams also raided nine places in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Mohali on Friday. VB chief B K Uppal said Surinderpal had even sub-let the construction work of a 200-foot-wide airport road joining junction 73/74 to NH 21 on the Chandigarh-Kharar road amounting to Rs 645 crore by flouting all rules. “He adopted arm-twisting methods and threatened allottee contractor, SECL Industries Pvt Ltd, to sub-let part of this work amounting to Rs 535 crore to Ek Onkar Builders,” Uppal alleged. Investigations revealed that according to the contract, GMADA had to pay to SECL, but the latter paid only Rs 11 crore to Ek Onkar Builders despite sub-letting work worth Rs 37 crore.
It shows that the accused chief engineer had favoured the Ek Onkar firm only to get the work experience certificate and the sub-letting was a mere eyewash. Uppal informed that during Surinderpal’s tenure, more than 200 works, amounting to Rs 1,030 crore, were allotted to various contractors out of which works worth Rs 230 crore were allotted to the Ek Onkar firm, which had promoter-director Gurmej Singh Gill, a resident of Vikas Nagar, Pakhowal Road, Ludhiana, owning 50 per cent shares and partner-director Mohit Kumar, also of Ludhiana, the other 50 per cent. The VB probe even revealed that Surinderpal and Gurmej knew each other as the latter had worked under him as joint engineer when he was in charge of Mandi Board Ludhiana. Mohit’s father had also worked under Surinderpal.
Mohit was earlier an employee in the Ek Onkar firm but later elevated as shareholder director, drawing a monthly salary from the company. The VB chief claimed that Ek Onkar Builders had purchased land at Chatoli village in Mohali in 2015-16 in Mohit’s name. He received Rs 19.75 lakh for the registry of this land from a firm named Award Agro Traders and its joint owners were the mother and wife of Surinderpal. Uppal further revealed that earlier Gurmej used to run a firm, M/s Rupinder Singh Contractors, but after his retirement, it was merged with Ek Onkar Builders which got contracts wherever Surinderpal was posted. Incidentally, Ek Onkar had its office at Gobind Nagar, Pakhowal Road, Ludhiana, in 2015 at Surinderpal’s house and he later executed a lease deed with the construction firm as owner in February 2015.
The VB chief further stated that Surinderpal had allotted works to the tune of Rs 14 crore to Ek Onkar from 2011 to 2013 and the same had got another work of Rs 37 crore when Surinderpal joined GMADA. Surinderpal had allotted more work, amounting to Rs 16 crore, during his tenure in the Punjab Mandi Board from 2013 to 2016. Plus, he had also allocated work in 2013 to the tune of Rs 76,62,1700 to M/s Satrodorstroy India Pvt Ltd, Okhla Industrial Area, New Delhi, to build a bridge at Chhatt village near Papri village in Mohali and forced the genuine allottee to sublet work to Rajinder and Company to the tune of Rs 36.83 crore.
Besides, the accused has also allotted works amounting to Rs 210 crore to Rajinder and Company as well as Rajindera Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. He also favoured and facilitated M/s Oasis Technologies Pvt Ltd to get public health, civil and horticulture contracts worth Rs 5 crore in Mohali in 2015 by altering the tender provisions. Agian, Surinderpal allotted works of Rs 50 crore to Oasis Technologies as its director Amit Garg was allegedly working as his conduit to get commission from other contractors. Uppal said Surinderpal had incorporated three firms in the name of his mother and wife, namely Award Agro Traders Pvt. Ltd, Asees Agro Seeds Pvt. Ltd and Easter Agro Traders Pvt Ltd.
While Easter Agro and Award Agro were incorporated and registered on February 9, 2009, Asees Agro was incorporated on March 4, 2005. In all three companies, his mother Swaranjeet Kaur and wife Mandeep Kaur were directors holding equal shares and having office at House 39, Defence Colony, Ludhiana, its owner being Swaranjeet. Work of all the three companies was being carried out from the office of Ek Onkar Builders at Pakhowal Road. The VB chief said investigation brought to light that Rs 40 crore had been deposited in the accounts of these bogus firms from 2012 to 2016, albeit without transactions.
Plus, land worth crores was bought in the name of these companies and the buyer was Gurmej. Surinderpal had illegally favoured the Ek Onkar firm with financial benefits and amassed huge money out of its business. He transferred this money to the accounts of his family members and diverted that to their firms set up to adjust black money. Uppal mentioned that another company, Ackme Crushers and Builders, was incorporated on November 10, 2016, in which Surinderpal’s wife had 90 per cent shares and mother 10 per cent holding. And, Ackme Crushers was involved in heavy transactions with Ek Onkar Builders which shows that all the accused directly or indirectly did business with the above mentioned firms and amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.