DW BUREAU / Chandigarh
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Saturday filed the chargesheet in the nearly Rs 1,000 crore irrigation scam in the state, an official said.
The chargesheet, filed in a court in Mohali town adjoining Chandigarh, is against contractor Gurinder Singh and retired engineers of Irrigation Department in the multi-crore scam.
Gurinder Singh, who is the kingpin of the scam, and five officers of the department were earlier arrested by the Vigilance Bureau in this connection.
Following a vigilance inquiry, they have been booked under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act for causing crores of rupees loss to the state exchequer in allotment and execution of various works of Irrigation Department in the state.
“Officials favoured contractor Gurinder Singh in various projects worth more than Rs 1,000 crore. “The first challan has been filed in the court to deny any benefit of default bail to Gurinder Singh, the main accused, and the retired engineers who have been arrested so far. Further investigation regarding the role of senior government functionaries and private persons and various aspects of this scam is under progress, and supplementary challans would be submitted in due course of time in the trail court,” said a Vigilance Bureau spokesman.
The Bureau is probing 42 irrigation projects in which the engineers openly favoured one contractor for the contracts.
“During investigation it was found that the main accused Gurinder Singh was benefited running into crores by the accused government officials in connivance with each other during the previous 7-8 years. They have allotted works with tailor-made conditions at higher rates up to 27 percent above departmental rates to single bidder by flouting conditions and have caused a huge loss to the state exchequer,” the spokesman said.
“During investigation it was also noticed that during the year 2006-07, annual turnover of the said contractor was only Rs 4.74 crore and it swelled to approx. Rs 300 crore during the year 2016-17. The officers of Irrigation Department also compromised with the quality and quantity of material in the works executed by the said contractor to get more commission/illegal gratification,” he added.