Aiming to eradicate corruption in the state the Vigilance Bureau Punjab during its ongoing campaign arrested Harjit Kaur Sarpanch, of village Aakari in Patiala district on Tuesday for embezzlement in panchayat funds amounting to Rs. 12.24 crore in the name of development works in the village.
Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the State Vigilance Bureau (VB) said the Bureau had already registered a FIR No.12 dated 26.05.2022 under section 406, 420, 409, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of IPC and section 13(1) read with 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act at VB police station Patiala to investigate misappropriation of panchayats funds by the various accused.
Giving more details of this case he informed that the PUDA authority of Punjab government had acquired shamlat land measuring 1104 acres belonging to 5 different villages for construction of Amritsar-Kolkata integrated corridor.
In this regard a total amount of about Rs. 285 crores was given to 5 villages namely Pabra, Takhtu Majra, Sehra, Sehri and Akari in Shambu Block, Patiala district. Out of this total amount of about Rs. 51 crore were received by gram panchayat Akari for their acquired land measuring 183 acres 12 marla, he added.
During the investigation by the VB it has come to light that accused sarpanch Harjit Kaur initiated development works by using the above mentioned funds in the village. But during the physical checking of these works by the technical team of Bureau that sarpanch Harjit Kaur had misappropriated the large amount of funds by passing fake resolutions of gram panchayat for fake construction of village pond, community centre, cremation grave yard, panchayat ghar and burms of a drain. To prove the works as genuine she released payments through cheques to the different firms for these works, he added.
The spokesperson revealed that apart from the VB probe, another enquiry regarding these development works by using panchayat funds was completed by Additional Chief Secretary-cum Financial Commissioner Rural Development & Panchayats, SAS Nagar.
The department probe has found that embezzlement amounting to Rs 12.24 crores was committed in the development works by Sarpanch Harjit Kaur in village Akari. Further investigation in this case by the VB is under progress.