Consortium of Indian Farmers Association has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging Patiala trial court’s last November decision of acquitting sitting Congress MLA from Samrala Amrik Singh Dhillon, former chief parliamentary secretary Raj Khurana of BJP and 37 others in the fertiliser scam of 1995 wherein farm subsidies amounting to Rs 49 lakh were embezzled through a Jalandhar-based firm.
However, the division bench comprising Justices TPS Mann and Mahavir Singh Chauhan recused from hearing the case and ordered that the case be put up before some other bench, after obtaining orders from the Acting Chief Justice, of which Justice Mann is not a member.
In the Punjab vigilance probe it had come out that false reports were made regarding dispatch of fertilizer by Jalandhar based Modern Agro-Chemical Industries in various trucks but in reality the registration number of those alleged trucks were fake and in fact they were found to be registration numbers of scooters, motorcycles and cars.
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It had come out that though the fertiliser was never produced by the company but it pocketed the subsidy by producing bogus transportation bills of raw material and showing details of farmers who were supposedly distributed fertilisers at subsidised rates.
The Patiala district court had on November 21 sentenced Swaran Singh Dhillon, managing director of firm, Rajinder Singh, firm’s joint director and Mangaljit Singh, additional development officer, Jalandhar to four years’ imprisonment. Swaran Singh Dhillon and Rajinder Singh are Samrala MLA’s nephews. All other 39 accused including Amrik Singh Dhillon, Raj Khurana, Dhillon’s son Kanwaljit Singh and Khurana’s wife Raj Kumari were acquitted in the case.
The petitioner association has now alleged that Patiala trial court while acting in a “very casual and unconstitutional manner” has acquitted 39 accused people and while holding three accused guilty has imposed a very lenient sentence on them.
Thus the petitioner’s counsel Charanjit Sharma has sought enhancement of sentence to three convicted persons and conviction of the acquitted 39 accused by setting aside trial court’s judgment. It has been submitted that the judgment is based on “surmises and conjectures.”
The scam was unearthed by the Consortium of Indian Farmers Association in 1995 after which a complaint was made by it to the Punjab vigilance director on August 28,1995.