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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Haryana bureaucrat faces arrest in graft case as vigilance conducts raids

The vigilance has alleged that the accused did not get prepared any property ID from the local municipal body and no NOC was obtained from the director of urban local bodies.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh |
January 5, 2022 8:02:12 am
The SIT chief Rakesh Kumar told The Indian Express, “Dismissed policeman Bala Singh was already booked in two corruption cases. (Representational)

The state Vigilance Bureau on Tuesday conducted raids to arrest an HCS officer, Bharat Bhushan Kaushik, in an alleged corruption case related to purchase of factory land showing it as “agricultural land” in Ratia town of Fatehabad district by causing a revenue loss of Rs 26.53 lakh.

According to vigilance officials, the HCS officer and a dismissed policeman, Bala Singh, had purchased nearly six kanals in the name of their wives in October last year when Kaushik (45) was sub divisional magistrate (SDM) of Ratia. After the matter surfaced, the vigilance conducted an inquiry and lodged an FIR under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and other charges, including conspiracy.
Naib tehsildar Bhajan Das and a patwari Madan Lal have also been booked in the case.

Subsequently, the state government recently transferred Kaushik as joint director in Art and Cultural Affairs Department from his previous posting in Ratia. Kaushik is a 2016 batch officer of state civil services. The vigilance bureau DIG vigilance bureau Shiv Charan Singh has formed an SIT headed by DSP Rakesh Kumar to conduct the probe.

According to the investigators, the purchased land belongs to a factory which is “gair mumkin” (uncultivable) but it was purchased paying the charges (Rs 46 lakh) of agricultural land. A building is reportedly already constructed on the land concerned. The land was purchased in the name of Kaushik’s wife Sarika and Bala Singh’s wife Karamjit Kaur in two equal shares. 

They paid Rs 2.3 lakh as stamp duty and almost Rs 25,000 as registration fee. The vigilance has alleged that the accused did not get prepared any property ID from the local municipal body and no NOC was obtained from the director of urban local bodies. The investigators claim Kaushik “in collusion with Bala Singh purchased the land in favour of their wives causing a loss of over Rs 26.53 lakh to the state exchequer and Ratia municipal body in the forum of different charges including stamp duty and ‘house tax’. The vigilance officials claim Kaushik did not take permission from the state government before purchasing the land in favour of his wife. Sources say the different charges for registration of the agricultural land are much lower than of the land which falls in the municipal areas.  
 
The SIT chief Rakesh Kumar told The Indian Express, “Dismissed policeman Bala Singh was already booked in two corruption cases. And in one of them, he was convicted too. He is currently working as a property dealer in Ratia. We are also probing the links between the bureaucrat and the dismissed cop. To arrest Kaushik, the vigilance bureau has conducted raids at his official residence in Yamunanagar where he was posted as SDM earlier. The raids have been conducted at his native place in Kaithal and other places too. We are conducting raids to arrest other accused also. A Patwari Madan Lal has already been arrested.”

To prevent their arrest Kaushik and his wife moved a Fatehabad court. In the court, their counsel claimed that they have been implicated in the case. The counsel contended that the matter regarding the present case is pending before a civil court of Ratia and accordingly no FIR could be lodged against them in the same matter.

However, the public prosecutor told the court that recovery of the cellphones is to be affected from the accused to connect them with the “conspiracy hatched between all the accused persons”. He also stated that the civil court on November 26 this year has given its detailed findings regarding the sale-deed in question “which goes against the accused”. From the perusal of the civil court’s order, the public prosecutor said, “it is clear that something is fishy in the case”. The public prosecutor also claimed that Kaushik has purchased another “disputed land” in Ratia in the name of his brother-in-law Vikash while “the payment was made by Kaushik and his wife in the Vikash’s bank account”.

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