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Punjab police analysing Vijay Singla’s bank account details

A Punjab police officer privy with the investigations told The Indian Express that police were examining the bank account details of Singla, and Pardeep since March 20 after he assumed charge as cabinet minister in the government.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
May 26, 2022 6:24:01 am
Vijay Singla, the officer said, was grilled for over five hours on Wednesday. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Vivek Sheel Soni was also learnt to be present during the questioning. (Express)

A day after arresting Dr Vijay Singla in the corruption case registered against him at phase 8 police station in Mohali on Tuesday, the Punjab police are in the process of analyzing his bank account details, getting forensic testing done of the call recordings with complainant Rajinder Singh and sifting through sacked health minister’s call detail records. The co-accused in the case Pardeep Kumar, who is nephew of Singla and was Officer on Special Duty (OSD) with the former minister, would also be subject to similar investigations.

A Punjab police officer privy with the investigations told The Indian Express that police were examining the bank account details of Singla, and Pardeep since March 20 after he assumed charge as cabinet minister in the government.

“We will analyse the previous bank account details prior to March 20 also to ascertain if there was any change or variation in the transactions’ pattern.”

Singla, the officer said, was grilled for over five hours on Wednesday. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Vivek Sheel Soni was also learnt to be present during the questioning.

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He was also taken to Phase VI government hospital in Mohali for a medical examination along with Pardeep.

The police are also learnt to have been examining the call detail records of Singla and Pardeep. The audio recording involving the complainant Rajinder Singh and Pardeep has also been procured and would be subject to a forensic analysis. Sources said police were likely to take the investigations to a larger canvass and widen the ambit by analyzing previous work allotments during the tenures of predecessors of Singla. In the words of a senior most intelligence official, “It could be like a chess game where you get your own pawn killed to target vajir (the next important to king) of the opponent.”

Sources said the investigators are also likely to rope in Punjab Vigilance Bureau and the financial intelligence unit of intelligence wing of the police during the investigations. Meanwhile, eyebrows are being raised within the police department for not handing over the high profile case to the Vigilance Bureau. One of the top State police officer said, ideally such case registered under Prevention of Corruption Act should have been investigated by the Vigilance Bureau instead of district police. The officer said “there seems to be some trust deficit”.

The Indian Express accessed a correspondence by Additional Director General of Police (Crime) dating back to January 7, 2005 which asked all Senior Superintendents of Police/Assistant Inspectors General (AIGs)/Government Railway Police, Patiala “to transfer corruption cases to the Vigilance Bureau”. Referring to a letter dated January 29, 1999, the correspondence read that “as per government guidelines, you were directed that corruption cases should not be registered by any police official on their own other than the rank of VB DSP or above rank”.

It further noted that “even if such a case was registered with the approval of Superintendent of Police rank officer, the investigations should be immediately transferred to the Vigilance Bureau”. An ADGP rank Punjab police officer however said that “These may be guidelines issued at that time. The cases under Prevention of Corruption Act can be registered by police officials in districts also. The Constitution prevails over the guidelines,” added the officer. Also, the investigators were learnt to have been looking into AAP government’s initiative to start Mohalla clinics beginning August 15, the Independence Day anniversary. However, a senior official of Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) said “no work had been allotted for Mohalla clinics” and that “government planned to use existing infrastructure of defunct sewa kendras for setting up Mohalla clinics”. The official added, “Some construction works might be allotted to renovate such sewa kendras, but no tenders have been floated for that as of now”.

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