Retd PCS Officer Jagdish Johal arrested
Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Thursday arrested Retired PCS Officer Jagdish Singh Johal, who was Land Acquisition Collector (LAC) of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), in connection with multi-crore Guava trees compensation scam.
This is the 20th arrest in the scam wherein compensation worth crores of rupees was wrongfully claimed in lieu of land acquired by GMADA at village Bakarpur in SAS Nagar (Mohali) district.
Revealing the details here today, an official spokesperson of the VB said that Jagdish Singh Johal was instrumental in approving disbursals of wrongful payments to accused beneficiaries on the basis of tailor made assessment report containing names and shares of said beneficiaries in contravention with the Revenue records.
Pertinently, two Retired Patwaris Surinderpal Singh and Surinderpal, then posted at the LAC Branch of GMADA, were also arrested last week in the case.
During the interrogation, the Spokesperson said, they disclosed that initially they refused to certify the payment forms as names of owners and shares mentioned in the assessment report of the Horticulture Department as it were different from actual owners and their shares as per the Revenue record. They alleged that the accused Jagdish Singh Johal exercised his influence and pressurised them to initiate noting for approval of disbursement of payments in accordance with the assessment report of Horticulture Department by ignoring Revenue records. Further as the LAC, the accused PCS officer approved the payments and subsequently released around Rs 124 Crores to various beneficiaries giving undue benefits to them while causing heavy losses to the exchequer.
To ensure payments to genuine beneficiaries, the Chief Administrator GMADA had even ordered that LAC would visit personally to inspect Guava orchards, check Girdawri records to ascertain age of trees, besides conducting GIS drone mapping survey and videography of the area. However, JS Johal deliberately ignored all these checks and released payments in connivance with the accused beneficiaries, he added.
A performa, which was devised by the Chief Administrator GMADA on 01.06.2021 on which basis the first payments of compensation were started, was totally ignored. The accused PCS officer has also released the compensation to Nisha Garg, Shubham Wadhawan, Binder Singh, Neelam Bansal, Kiran Bansal, Bimla Mittal, Chestha, Santosh Kumari, Chanchal Kumar, Anil Kumar Batra, Susheel Kumari Batra and Rashmi Arora, who were not even recorded as land owners in the Revenue record.
Therefore, he has released the compensation to the non-eligible land owners, whereas their land pooling case is proposed to be forwarded to the court being unauthorised purchase.
The spokesperson further informed that after surfacing of incriminating oral, circumstantial and documentary evidence against Jagdish Singh Johal, the VB has nominated the PCS Officer as an accused and arrested today from Mohali. Further, role of other officials concerned is under scanner.