Hoshiarpur land scam: After 3-year probe, Vigilance Bureau files cancellation report in court

The land scam was exposed in June 2016 in which it was alleged that irregularities were committed by the competent authority appointed for acquiring land for four-laning project from Jalandhar district to Hoshiarpur.

More than two years after registration of an FIR against over a dozen people in the multi-crore Hoshiarpur land scam case, the Vigilance Bureau (VB) has filed a cancellation report in state vs Anand Sagar Sharma and others case.

The land scam was exposed in June 2016 in which it was alleged that irregularities were committed by the competent authority appointed for acquiring land for four-laning project from Jalandhar district to Hoshiarpur. The then Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Hoshiarpur, Anand Sagar Sharma, was competent authority for acquiring land for the project. Surprisingly no challan has ever been presented in the court against the main accused.

On June 14, cancellation report was filed before Duty Magistrate, Ludhiana, Additional Session Judge Tarntaran Singh Bindra. The case would come up for next hearing on July 5, 2017, in the court of District Session Judge, Ludhiana.

The cancellation report has been filed on the basis of the report prepared by the Vigilance Bureau official, DSP Niranjan Singh of the Jalandhar unit.

DSP Niranjan Singh confirmed that the cancellation report was filed by EOW, Ludhiana, on the basis of report prepared by him in this case. About the SIT, which was formed last year and was separately investigating the case, he said that SIT has also filed its report.

About not presenting any challan in this case against any accused mentioned in the FIR, he said that no challan has been presented only cancellation report has been presented in the court. He refused to divulge further details. “It was an high-profile case being regularly tracked by media and filing of the cancellation report during summer vacations brings the role of VB under scanner,” said a senior Punjab Police officer.

In the scam exposed in 2016, windfall gains were allegedly made by private persons as nearly two km-long stretch was purchased from farmers at lower rates in Hoshiarpur to pocket heavy compensation from NHAI after getting the land use changed with the alleged connivance of revenue officials.

The land in question was acquired by the NHAI for a four-laning project. The accused had purchased the land both immediately before and after the notification for acquisition.

RTI Activist Rajiv Vahisht claims that three local Akali leaders had benefitted by purchasing land at throw-away prices.

While Sharma was the prime accused, other accused included a Tehsildar and a Naib Tehsildar, SAD leaders — councillor Harpinder Singh Gill, district cooperative bank chairman Satwinderpal Singh Dhatt and Hoshiarpur Market Committee chairman Avtar Singh Johal, among others.

Sharma was placed under suspension for six months. Later, VB said that total scam was of just Rs 22 crore. The scam was earlier believed to be worth over Rs 100 crore.

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