Patiala village sarpanch Harjit Kaur arrested for embezzling Rs 12.24 crore from panchayat fund – Reuters

Tribune press service

Aman Soud

Patiala, August 9

Almost five months after launching an investigation, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Tuesday arrested Harjit Kaur, sarpanch, Aakari village, Patiala district, for alleged embezzlement of panchayat funds in the amount of Rs 12, 24 crore on behalf of development works in the village.

VB had previously registered an FIR on May 26, 2022, under IPC Sections 406, 420, 409, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120-B and various sections of the Patiala Prevention of Corruption Act in a case relating to embezzlement of panchayat funds by various defendants.

A State Vigilance Bureau (VB) spokesperson said today that the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) has acquired shamlat land measuring 1104 acres belonging to five different villages for the construction of the Amritsar- Kolkata.

“In this regard, a total amount of around Rs 285 crore has been donated to five villages namely Pabra, Takhtu Majra, Sehra, Sehri and Akari in Shambu block, Patiala district. Out of this amount, an amount of approximately Rs 50 crore was received by Akari gram panchayat for their acquired land measuring 183 acres 12 marla,” he added.

During the investigation, it emerged that Sarpanch Harjit Kaur had initiated development works using the above mentioned funds in the village, VB officials said. “But upon physical verification of these works by VB technical team, it was found that Harjit Kaur had embezzled large amount of funds by passing fake gram panchayat resolutions for fake village pond constructions, of community center, cremation ground, panchayat ghar and berms of a drain. To prove the authenticity of the works, she made check payments to different companies for these works,” he added.

A separate inquiry into this development work using panchayat funds was carried out by the Additional Chief Secretary and Financial Commissioner for Rural Development and Panchayats. “The department’s investigation revealed that embezzlement in the amount of Rs 12.24 crores was committed in the development works by Sarpanch Harjit Kaur in Akari village,” the spokesperson said. from VB.

No development work done

  • PUDA Acquired Panchayat Land in Five Patiala Villages for Amritsar-Kolkata Integrated Corridor
  • About Rs 285 crore was paid to the panchayats; land cultivators received a displacement allowance of Rs 97.8 crore
  • The villagers then complained to the VB that there were several shortcomings in the development work
  • The investigation revealed that the panchayat had released money without undertaking any development work

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