Vigilance Bureau nabs Assistant Town Planner, two private persons taking bribe Rs 8 lakh, search for fourth accused continues
Aiming to curb the menace of corruption in the state, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) on Wednesday arrested Ravi Pankaj Sharma Assistant Town Planner (ATP) Jalandhar and his two accomplices Kunal Kohli and Arvind Sharma, both private individuals, have been nabbed for accepting a bribe of Rs 8 lakh. The arrest of Ashish Arora, the fourth accused in this case, is pending, for which the VB has formed teams to arrest him. Meanwhile the accused were produced in the local court and were sent on five days police remand to the VB.
Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the VB said that Narinder Singh, the director of Castle Heritage Company, a resident of village Bath Kalan, district Jalandhar, had constructed the ‘Bath Castle’, a marriage palace, at Jalandhar in 2005 after approval of a map plan from the Municipal Corporation (MC) Jalandhar.
The complainant has informed the VB that he received a letter dated 20-01-2023 from the above said ATP in which he wrote that the MC has received a complaint according to which Bath Castle had been illegally constructed without the approval of MC Jalandhar. Due to which the company was asked to submit the approved map plan and completion certificate of the said palace within three days.
He further added that thereafter, director of Bath Castle, Narinder Singh met the said accused ATP, who showed him a complaint made by private persons Kunal Kohli, Ashish Arora and Arvind Sharma. The accused ATP advised the complainant that these private persons would not withdraw the complaint without taking money and Rs 15 lakh would have to be paid to settle this matter. The spokesperson further informed that after this, the said ATP Ravi Pankaj Sharma arranged a meeting of Narinder Singh with Kunal Kohli, who demanded Rs 20 lakh to withdraw the complaint.
The complainant further informed the VB that in this case, the deal was settled for Rs 10 lakh and Ravi Pankaj Sharma had already taken Rs 2 lakh from him in two installments and demanding the remaining Rs 8 lakh from him.
The spokesperson added that after the preliminary investigation of the case, the VB’s Flying Squad-1 team from Mohali laid a trap and arrested the said ATP Ravi Pankaj Sharma including above said two private persons from Jalandhar while taking a bribe of Rs 8 lakh. On the occasion, the said town planner tried to run away, but the alert team of vigilance overpowered him. In this case, fourth accused Ashish Arora, is yet to be arrested
He further informed that in this regard a FIR No. 12 dated 21.03.2023 has been registered against all the said accused under section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act and section 120-B of IPC at Vigilance Bureau, Police Station Flying Squad-1, Punjab, Mohali. Further investigation of this case was under progress.
The spokesperson further informed that after this trap, the vigilance team searched the said accused Kunal Kohli during which ATMs of several banks, two press identification cards were recovered besides five live cartridges and a revolver was confiscated from his possession. Apart from this, several files having fake complaints to be made against various persons, have also been recovered from the car of the said accused, from which it seems that the said accused used to collect bribes after handling fake complaints against common people and used to settle them with mutual agreement by taking bribes.