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VB going slow on irrigation scam, claims SAD leader

Bathinda, February 13

Gursewak Singh Jawaharke, SAD leader, today accused the Vigilance Bureau of going slow on the probe into Rs 950-crore irrigation scam and failing to produce challan against the officials involved in it within the stipulated time period.
Addressing a press conference here today, Jawaharke said it was a Rs 950-crore project under which the government aimed to have in place a proper irrigation system by constructing water course outlets to irrigate fields. “The project was primarily meant for Bathinda, Sangrur, Barnala and Mansa districts where groundwater is contaminated. The farmers, too, contributed 10 per cent of the project cost. About Rs 100 crore were collected from the farmers of these four districts,” he said.
The Akali leader alleged that the contractors in connivance with the officials used substandard construction material in the project. He alleged that the Vigilance had even caught Executive Engineer KK Singla while accepting bribe from one of the contractors. “The Vigilance conducted raids on the official and recovered more than Rs 1 crore cash while also unearthing his various bank accounts and FDs,” he alleged. Similarly, another department official, SK Goyal, was raided and Rs 70 lakh recovered from him, he charged.
However, the Vigilance didn’t produce any challan against them in the stipulated time period. He claimed that though he was the one who blew the lid off the scam, the Vigilance Bureau completed the inquiry without taking him into the loop. Moreover, Singla was even promoted as the Vigilance failed to initiate any action against him, he alleged.
Jawaharke had exposed the scam when the state was ruled by his own party in 2016. He said he had now moved a plea with the Vigilance Bureau to reopen the case, but still things were moving at the snail’s pace. He said they had also called a convention of the farmers in Mansa on March 3 to discuss the “injustice being meted out” to the farming community, where they would deliberate on the issue as well.
On the other hand, Bathinda Vigilance Bureau SSP Jagjeet Singh said, “We will be producing challan in the court this week in connection with the case in which Singla was caught taking bribe. However, the probe into his disproportionate assets case is still on.”

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