AAP demands CBI probe into multi-crore PSIEC plot allotment scam

Chandigarh, September 10: Senior leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Punjab Assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema, has demanded a time-bound CBI inquiry into the multi-crore Punjab Small Scale Industrial and Export Corporation, PSIEC plot allotment scam under the watch of a sitting High Court judge, saying the Captain Amarinder Singh government had been going the whole hog to hush up the matter.

At a meet-the-press program held at party headquarters in Chandigarh on Tuesday, Harpal Singh Cheema released a report of the probe conducted by the Vigilance Bureau. He added that the report was handed over to the Vigilance Bureau on April 4, 2018, by the Captain Amarinder Singh Government and that the said inquiry was completed by the central agency in January this year.

Citing inquiry report, Cheema said that names of the who’s who of the PSIEC among dozens others had surfaced in the probe. Interestingly, all those named in the inquiry report were either the kin or acquaintances of the corporation top brass, saying that they indulged in an open ‘loot’ and appeasing their wives, siblings, kin and other acquaintances at a cost worth multi-crore depriving a large number of entrepreneurs and industrialists in the state availing themselves of the opportunity to own a plot to set up their industries etc.

Cheema further added that if the CBI or Enforcement Directorate (ED) went for a random check of the bank transactions made by them through bank drafts/cheques or other modes of payment, more skeleton would roll out from the cupboard unearthing bigger scam worth multi-crore and the modus-operandi employed to fleece the public money under the nose of the government machinery.

The LoP demanded that Punjab and Haryana High Court immediately order seizure of the PSIEC record relating to the allotment of plots made during the past 20 years. He alleged that besides the corporation top brass, political big wigs, including top-ranking bureaucrats, members of the Badal family and those of Captain Amarinder Singh were involved in this multi-crore scam.

The Captain Government had, Cheema said, tried to push the matter under the carpet by setting a 3-member committee of IAS officers, Rahul Bhandari, Rajat Aagarwal and Neelma, and that it was apparently a well thought-out ploy to scuttle the probe.

The AAP leader questioned as to why there were no PSIEC officers, including SP Singh, chief general manager (Estate), Jaswinder Singh Randhawa (JS Randhawa), general manager (Planning), Aamarjeet Singh Kahlon, estate officer (who recently retired), Vijay Gupta, senior assistant, Darshan Singh, consultant and Savtej Singh, SDO not put under suspension or sent on compulsory leave. They were allowed to continue influence investigations, he said and demanded that they be immediately removed from their posts.

Lashing out at the state industries minister, Cheema said if he claimed himself to be upright and honest why he couldn’t expose those behind entire scam personally. If he was unable to do so, he should immediately resign from the post, Cheema said.