Chandigarh: Two months after he was accused of sexual misconduct, Punjab cupboard minister Lal Chand Kataruchak finds himself in the midst of yet one more political storm. Opposition events in Punjab are actually accusing him of facilitating an alleged land rip-off by which a district improvement officer recognized to him is the prime suspect.
Punjab’s Vigilance Bureau Thursday registered an FIR in opposition to Kuldeep Singh, a retired District Growth and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) who was given the cost of additional deputy commissioner (ADC) of Pathankot in February this 12 months. Kuldeep Singh has been accused of illegally transferring almost 92 acres of panchayat land in Pathankot’s Gol village to some non-public events.
Seven different individuals have been booked within the case, of whom two have been arrested. The police are searching for the remainder.
In a letter to Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit Friday, Chief of the Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa demanded a judicial Fee of Inquiry into the rip-off. He additionally accused Minister for Forests & Wildlife and Meals, Civil Provides & Shopper Affairs Kataruchak of getting “specifically transferred the DDPO to Pathankot simply forward of his retirement” to profit non-public people who have been additionally recognized to Kataruchak.
In response to experiences in The Tribune, Kataruchak, who can also be an Aam Aadmi Social gathering (AAP) MLA from Bhoa, had advisable that Kuldeep Singh maintain the extra cost of Pathankot ADC. The officer obtained the cost on 24 February — 4 days earlier than his retirement.
My letter to Honourable Governor Punjab, Banwari Lal Purohit ji in search of a judicial probe in 92 acre Panchayti land rip-off in Pathankot. Position of Aam Aadmi Social gathering ministers, officers and personal people near ministers must be judicial probed totally. pic.twitter.com/dMP7YsfiUv
— Partap Singh Bajwa (@Partap_Sbajwa) August 11, 2023
Congress chief Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Bharatiya Janata Social gathering (BJP) chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Bikram Singh Majithia additionally added to the refrain, demanding motion in opposition to Kataruchak in addition to one other cupboard minister, Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal.
ThePrint reached Kataruchak through cellphone and textual content messages and Dhaliwal through textual content messages. This report can be up to date if and when a response is acquired.
Opposition calls for dismissal
In a publish on ‘X’ (previously Twitter) Friday, Congress chief and Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira claimed all the train in opposition to DDPO Kuldeep Singh “is meaningless” except Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann takes motion in opposition to Kataruchak.
Your entire train of motion in opposition to Ddpo Kuldeep Singh & Co within the 100 acres land rip-off of Pathankot is meaningless except @BhagwantMann takes motion in opposition to the actual perpetrator tainted Minister Kataruchak and dismisses him from the cupboard because the stated land being within the catchment… pic.twitter.com/3XixLT1ihW
— Sukhpal Singh Khaira (@SukhpalKhaira) August 11, 2023
BJP’s Sirsa, in the meantime, alleged that Dhaliwal was additionally chargeable for Kuldeep Singh to get the extra cost of ADC, Pathankot. This, he claimed, was achieved to assist facilitate the switch of land to personal individuals.
“Would CM @BhagwantMann ji provoke enquiry & motion in opposition to AAP ministers Lal Chand Kataruchak & Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal? They each assigned a tainted DDPO further duties as ADC, Pathankot with the purpose of transferring 100 acres of worthwhile panchayati land to Pvt (sic) people for private beneficial properties! AAP’s stage of corruption is the New excessive and Badlaav within the state,” he stated in his X publish.
Majithia, a former Punjab minister, introduced that his get together SAD will launch a statewide protest except the federal government acts.
It’s two days for the reason that @Akali_Dal demanded the resignations of cupboard ministers @LC_Kataruchak & @KuldeepSinghAAP for colluding with one another to provide two promotions to a tainted BDPO & posting him as ADC 1 week earlier than his retirement to solicit switch of 100 acres of…
— Bikram Singh Majithia (@bsmajithia) August 10, 2023
Earlier this week, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal had demanded a CBI probe into the rip-off alleging that the land was handed over to personal events with the intention of utilizing it for unlawful mining.
We demand a CBI inquiry into all the problem to find out the cash path in addition to establish all those that have been get together to this corrupt act. The hyperlink between the 2 ministers and the final word beneficiaries who got a good thing about crores of rupees… pic.twitter.com/2TeAcWQBNG
— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) August 8, 2023
Because the Opposition tried to nook his authorities, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema advised the press that the topic was below investigation and because it was “sub-judice”, he couldn’t touch upon it.
Khaira was fast to level out that the case was not sub-judice, and subsequently, nothing stopped the Punjab authorities from giving its view.
I’m stunned at authorized understanding of @HarpalCheemaMLA Fm an Advocate himself,as he’s wrongly decoding the time period Sub-Judice when requested concerning the position of Minister Kataruchak within the 92 acres land rip-off in under video! Sub-Judice time period applies to a matter pending trial within the… pic.twitter.com/Dd0lZXxEMH
— Sukhpal Singh Khaira (@SukhpalKhaira) August 11, 2023
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‘Prima facie willful and malafide’
After the information broke out, Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma reportedly directed the state’s monetary commissioner, rural improvement and panchayats, to have an FIR registered below the Prevention of Corruption Act and related sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
A press release issued by the chief secretary’s workplace final week stated an inquiry discovered irregularities within the land switch. It discovered that the land was transferred on 27 February this 12 months — a day earlier than Kuldeep Singh was to retire.
“Kuldeep Singh was posted as ADC (D) Pathankot on 24-2-2023 which was a Friday. He was to retire on 28-2-2023 i.e. Tuesday. So, he listed the case for listening to on the very subsequent working day i.e. 27-2-2023 (Monday). Kuldeep Singh determined the case in favour of personal petitioners on 27-2-2023 itself. He didn’t trouble to provide any alternative to the Gram Panchayat to carry its proof on document,” the assertion stated.
The assertion added that the officer didn’t take paperwork, corresponding to jamabandis, into consideration whereas making the switch.
Jamabandi is a land record-of-rights of a village that comprises info corresponding to identify of householders, space and shares of householders, and likewise particulars corresponding to lease and income and different taxes payable on land.
The inquiry, the assertion stated, discovered that the actions have been “prima facie willful and malafide” and prompted “a lack of crores of rupees to the gram panchayat”.
Sexual misconduct allegations
That is the second controversy involving Kataruchak prior to now 4 months. In Might, Kataruchak was accused of sexual misconduct by a Gurdaspur-based male sufferer in opposition to Kataruchak.
Quickly after he acquired a criticism, Governor Purohit had requested the Mann authorities to dismiss Kataruchak. Nevertheless, the federal government is but to take any motion.
Bajwa mentions this in his newest letter to the governor.
“How indispensable Sh. Lal Chand Kataruchak is by the current authorities in Punjab is obvious from the truth that as per the allegations which had been levelled in opposition to Sh. Lal Chand Kataruchak earlier concerning an objectionable video, he had befriended the sufferer and had sexually exploited him on the promise of a authorities job on changing into MLA,” the letter says, including that after the chief minister had constituted a Particular Investigation Staff to “hush up the matter”.
(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)
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