The role of a Punjab cadre IAS officer and former Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Patiala Deepinder Singh,has raised eyebrows in the ongoing investigations into the Patiala land scam.
Singh,while acting as Patiala DC,in 2009,had admitted that the prime chunk of land,measuring around six bighas (6,000 square yards),was private land belonging to the Patialas royal family member Kiraninder Singh,which was illegally occupied by more than half-a-dozen Punjab government offices and had ordered them to vacate the private land.
However,within one year Singh backtracked from his previous stance claiming that the land belonged to the state government.
In September 2010 while Singh was still DC Yashpal Aggarwal,DS Sandhu and NP Singh,entered into an agreement with Kiraninder and bought the land for Rs 6.25 crore.
Prior to the sale agreement,Kiraninder on July 10,2009 had served a legal notice to the Singh stating that he was the owner of the land,which had been possessed by the state.
Acting on the notice,Singh on August 31,2009 issued letters to the occupying departments: Patiala’s Civil Surgeon,District Town Planner; District Education Officer (Secondary); District Education Officer (Elementary); District Employment Officer; Deputy Controller (Finance and Audit) Internal Investigation Agency and District Program Manager to vacate the land. Another reminder was sent to all the offices on September 10,2009.
However,after the sale of land in 2010,Singh refused to let the land be registered in the purchasers’ name. The purchasers,in a petition,filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court,alleged that certain high-ups were also trying to purchase the land and when they failed allegedly misused their official positions and started raising the question of ownership of land.
The court has given Punjab till September 21 to file a reply on the petition.
Whenever we receive a legal notice,the immediate reaction is to intimate the concerned departments,which I did.
However,later,when these three persons,claimed to have purchased the land and approached our office,for registration of the said land,we got the demarcation of the land done. A team of Revenue officers,did the demarcation and gave their report that the land in question was not private land but government land. Thats,why the registration was not done,said Deepinder Singh.
The three purchasers of the land are now being questioned by the Punjab Vigilance Department.
Former Deputy Commissioner of Patiala Vikas Garg,was placed under suspension on charges of allegedly conniving with the purchasers to sell the ‘government land’.