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The Vigilance Bureau(VB), in its ongoing investigation of the multi-crore irrigation scam unearthed in August, has found that former chief engineer of Punjab Irrigation Department, Harvinder Singh, was behind the brain behind the scam. The VB has also traced two properties of Harvinder in Mohali and Chandigarh. The agency, however, failed to make a single arrest in the case even after 25 days of the registration of the case against seven persons including a contractor.
Harvinder, who retired from service in October 2014, came in contact with contractor Gurinder Singh in 2010 and was instrumental in giving most of the contracts to him by leaking information about the tenders. Harvinder used to work from Gurinder’s home in Sector 15, Chandigarh, which was converted to an office by the accused to complete their paper work needed to apply for the tenders. The VB has recovered some documents pertaining to contracts which were given to Gurinder.
“During Harvinder’s tenure, Gurinder got the contracts of Kandi Canal in which a total 22-km long canal was to be constructed from Mahilpur to Garshankar. The total cost of the project was around Rs 90 crore,” added a VB official.
Apart from Kandi Canal, Harvinder was instrumental in helping Gurinder in getting the Thein Dam repair work project which was worth around Rs 110 crore. During Harvinder’s tenure as the Chief Engineer of the Irrigation Department, Gurinder got projects of around Rs 250 crore.
During the investigation, the VB also traced two properties belonging to former chief engineer— a three-bedroom flat in Sector 43, Chandigarh, and 1 kanal house in Phase 2 in Mohali, which he bought for around Rs 3.5 crore in 2014. The agency also found that Harvinder bought a plot in Sector 80, Mohali, in 2013. Harvinder’s family lives in Sector 43 while the house in Mohali is empty as he wanted to get it repaired.
A VB source told Chandigarh Newsline that when Harvinder took over as the Chief Engineer in 2010 there were five complaints of irregularities pending against Gurinder, but he ignored them and helped him. Harvinder, whose family belongs to Jalandhar, had done most of his studies in Bhopal as his father was an Executive Engineer in the Public Works Department’s Road and Bridges wing in Madhya Pradesh.