scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Friday, January 28, 2022

‘Forging’ of signatures of Army personnel: High Court forms SIT

The Bench ordered that the SIT shall file its status report within one month and for that purpose only the present petition be listed before the court on January 17, 2022.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
December 16, 2021 8:51:11 am
Punjab and Haryana HCPunjab and Haryana High Court. (Express Photo by Jasbir Malhi/File)

Considering the seriousness and sensitivity of a matter related to the alleged forging of signatures of senior Army personnel and appending fake stamps/ seals of the Indian Army on forged prescription/ verification slips and documents at a hospital in Amritsar, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has entrusted the investigation to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) which would be headed by Punjab IPS officer, Prabodh Kumar, Special DGP Investigation, Lokpal, Punjab.

A Bench of Justice Deepak Sibal ordered a probe while hearing the anticipatory bail plea of a staffer of the hospital. The Bench dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of accused Narinder Kumar, who has been booked at Shahpur Kandi police station in Pathankot, for cheating and forgery.

As per the case, Vijay Kumar Thappa of Amandeep Group of Hospitals had filed an application with the police that the hospital received a complaint from the Army authorities that in the cases of certain patients referred to the hospital for treatment under the ECHS Scheme, signatures of the Army officials appended on the treatment documents to verify the given treatment, appeared to be forged. Inquiries conducted by the hospital had pointed the needle of suspicion towards the accused-petitioner and one Abhinandan Thakur who had been entrusted by the hospital with the task of seeking permissions/ approvals from the Army authorities with regard to admission/ treatment of patients referred under the ECHS Scheme. The hospital had tried to contact the petitioner and Abhinandan Thakur but they were not traceable. Therefore, the police were requested to take appropriate legal action against them. On the basis of the aforesaid application, the police registered the FIR in connection with which the petitioner sought anticipatory bail.

The petitioner through counsel blamed the entire scam on its sole beneficiary which is the hospital and further alleged that the investigating agency is under the influence of the hospital due to its deep pockets. It was also alleged by the petitioner that the hospital has been committing the fraudulent activities since 2016. With such fraudulent acts, the hospital has unduly enriched itself by crores of rupees; the police had been influenced by the hospital to give it a clean chit and this is in spite of the fact that the only beneficiary in the scam is the hospital. After these facts were brought to the notice of this court, the police have now lodged an FIR against the hospital management at Shahpur Kandi police station in Pathankot, but lodging of such FIR is only to pull wool over the eyes of this court as ultimately a formal clean chit will be given to the hospital management as had been done in the case of another cheating and forgery FIR at Cantonment police station, Amritsar.

However, the hospital sought to put the entire blame on the petitioner and Abhinandan Thakur as, according to it, they are the only players in the scam from the hospital side.

“Then there is the suspiciously blowing of hot and cold in the same breath by the investigating agency with regard to exonerating and accusing the hospital and that too without any worthwhile reason in either case,” Justice Sibal observed.

Justice Sibal held, “After considering the aforesaid rival submissions and going through the record of the case, the same is found to contain serious allegations that between the years 2016 and 2021, i.e. for 5 years, on the basis of forged prescription/ verification slips and documents on which were appended fake seals/ stamps of the Indian Army as also forged signatures of senior Army personnel, crores of rupees of the Indian Army/ Ministry of Defence have been transferred into the bank accounts of the hospital.”

“After considering the seriousness and sensitivity of the issue as also the magnitude of the alleged scam which is said to involve forging of signatures of senior Army personnel and appending of fake stamps/ seals of the Indian Army, it is considered desirable that the investigation of this case be entrusted to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) which would be headed by Prabodh Kumar, IPS, Special D.G.P. Investigation, Lokpal, Punjab. To assist him in the investigation, Prabodh Kumar would be at liberty to select the team of officers/ police personnel, including one officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police,” remarked Justice Sibal in the order.

The Bench also added that to avoid parallel investigations, he shall also investigate FIR number 199, dated December 9, 2021, registered at Shahpur Kandi polcie station in Pathankot district, as also further investigate a related FIR which was registered on October 2, 2020, at Cantonment police station, Amritsar.

It was ordered by the Bench that the records of the aforesaid three cases shall be sealed forthwith and handed over to the SIT, and also the DGP Punjab was directed to extend all possible assistance to the SIT which shall include logistic support, setting up of camp office etc. The Bench ordered that the SIT shall file its status report within one month and for that purpose only the present petition be listed before the court on January 17, 2022.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Chandigarh News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement