Updated: July 28, 2021 8:47:12 pm
Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP), Harpal Singh Cheema, on Wednesday demanded a CBI inquiry into the JCT land ‘scam’ along with the dismissal of Punjab Industries Minister Sunder Sham Arora from the Cabinet for his direct involvement in the matter.
The alleged scam pertains to the sale of 31 acres of prime land of the liquidated JCT Electronics in Mohali to a private realtor by Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC), thus causing a loss of more than a hundred crores to the state exchequer.
In a statement issued from the party headquarters on Wednesday, Cheema demanded a time-bound inquiry in the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the supervision of the High Court. Cheema further said that the AAP does not trust the committee of tainted bureaucrats and the Punjab Vigilance department, as its previous probe in the Rs 1500-crore industrial plot allotment scam of PSIEC had been a damp squib.
He said that a loss of nearly Rs 125 crore had been incurred by the state government with the deal, and if investigated properly the actual loss will add up to nearly Rs 300 crore.
Incidentally, Cheema had earlier raised the matter related to irregularities in industrial plot allotment by PSIEC and the JCT Electronics land matter in the Punjab Assembly and also raised objections against the shoddy investigation conducted by the committee of IAS officers, which he said gave the real culprits a clean chit. “Such embezzlements and scams cannot be perpetrated by the officials, MLAs or ministers without the patronage of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, under whom all sorts of mafias are flourishing in the state,” he said.
The AAP leader further alleged that in the corruption case of former Naib Tehsildar, Varinderpal Singh Dhoot, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau had deliberately not included minister Sunder Sham Arora’s name despite him (Arora) having direct involvement with Dhoot in various businesses. He demanded that the case now be reinvestigated by the CBI after including Sunder Sham Arora’s name.
The Leader of Opposition further said the functioning and the real intentions of the officials and the ministers of the state government have been exposed again by this scam. Cheema said that the PSIEC did not stake claim to Rs 161 crore as the unearned profit to be paid on the sale of the property and agreed to sell the lease land at a reduced cost of Rs 90.56 crore of which the Corporation would get only fifty per cent that is Rs 45 crore. “Despite the financial and legal implications involved, the matter was never referred to the finance department or to the Advocate General’s office, which is a sheer case of negligence and misappropriation,” he added.
Cheema said the board of Punjab Infotech had not accorded its post-facto approval, rather suggested that the matter be referred to the Advocate General, Punjab, which was not done thus entailing financial implications. Also, despite the red flag raised by Punjab Infotech and the matter regarding the tripartite agreement and unearned increase being under consideration by them, the PSIEC proceeded to take the approval of the state government and minister Sunder Sham Arora approved the decision. The PSIEC issued a letter communicating the same to the bidder.
Taking another dig at the Punjab Chief Minister, Harpal Singh Cheema, said, “If your government follows ‘Zero Corruption Agenda’ and if you do not take action against the minister who misused his position and swindled the exchequer, then it will be proved once again that you (Captain Amarinder) and your ministers and leaders are themselves involved with the land mafia in the state.”
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