PUNJAB GOVERNMENT | ACHIEVEMENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
AAP Punjab government is committed to providing clean, transparent and effective administration to people, eradicating corruption from current government machinery and exposing past incidents of corruption of previous governments. On June 30 2022, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann slammed the opposition for being neck deep in corruption, he reiterated that that every single penny plundered from the innocent people of state will be recovered from the nexus of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.
“I vow on the floor of this august house that my government will never forgive the corrupt politicians for their sins against Punjab and Punjabis even if they join any big or small political party” – Bhagwant Mann, Punjab Chief Minister (Link)
Eradicating corruption means not only removing corrupt and exploitative practices from government machinery but also exposing and recovering the benami properties & corrupt loot from the politicians & bureaucrat nexus, and punishing those responsible.
Anti-Corruption Helpline Number
“The Aam Aadmi Party government won’t bear corruption at any level. We will make Punjab corruption-free. Be it a government employee or even my own party MLA, no one will be spared. Anyone can file the complaint against corruption on the dedicated WhatsApp number launched today.”
Bhagwant Mann, Punjab Chief Minister (Link)
One of the first important tasks to be executed by the Punjab Government on coming to power was the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Helpline Number for the public to report instances of corruption via Whatsapp. This helpline number 9501 200 200 was launched on March 23, 2022 by Punjab Chief Minister, Bhagwant Mann, at Hussainiwala, on the occasion of the Shaheed Diwas of Bhagat Singh. The Chief Minister’s message is given in the video below,
<Video: Tweet from Bhagwant Mann, Punjab CM>
Action on complaints received through Anti-Corruption Helpline
The Anti-Corruption Helpline Number has received tremendous response from the people.
By 21st Aug 2022, over 210 people had been arrested since March 2022 in Punjab for corruption, including 135 government officials who were arrested by the Vigilance Bureau for accepting a bribe. Vigilance bureau has also nabbed around 80 private individuals.
40 FIRs were registered, and 61 people arrested based on these FIRs, based on complaints received on the Anti-Corruption helpline number alone since its launch on 23rd March 2022. 4135 genuine complaints (after verification) with audio/video recordings were logged on the helpline.
(Source: Tweet from Government of Punjab)
Important Corruption Cases
Punjab CM sacks his Health Minister
In a historic decision, on May 24, 2022, Punjab CM sacked his Health Minister Vijay Singla on charges of corruption for allegedly seeking “one per cent cut in tender allotment and purchase of goods related to the department”. This was unearthed as a result of a sting operation, where Singla allegedly asked for a sum of Rs 5 lakhs.
He was later arrested by Punjab Police under the Prevention of Corruption Act and sent to 3-day remand.
“I will not tolerate corruption of a single rupee. We want to turn Punjab into a corruption-free state.”
Bhagwant Mann, Punjab Chief Minister (Link)
<Video: Tweet from Arvind Kejriwal)
Investigation against former Chairman Municipal Improvement Trust
The Vigilance Bureau’s investigations into the misuse of his post by Dinesh Bassi, Former Chairman Municipal Improvement Trust, Amritsar, in July 2022, have revealed a number of irregularities in the allotment of tenders for development works in the city and allotment of Verka Milk Booths. An official spokesperson of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau said that as per the findings of the investigation so far, the accused Dinesh Bassi had issued tenders for development works worth of Rs. 300/400 crore during his tenure as the chairman, in which many irregularities have been found.
He had been earlier arrested in a Plot allotment scam.
Chargesheet against former Forest Minister
Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, who was the Forest Minister in the Captain Amarinder Singh cabinet, was arrested on 7th June 2022 and booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The charges against him include taking kickbacks for giving permits to cut khair trees, transfering officials, and for issuing no-objection certificates (NOCs) for private infrastructure development on forest land.
Moga Wheat Scam
Embezzlement of wheat worth Rs 5 crore from Baghapurana of Moga district came to the fore on 4th July 2022. The wheat stock belonged to Pungrain.
The embezzlement was detected during a physical verification of the wheat stored in the storehouses of the Pungrain conducted by the Food and Civil Supplies Department.
Three officials of the Food and Supplies Dept were booked.
Sarpanch Harjit Kaur Arrested
On 9th Aug 2022, the Vigilance Bureau arrested Harjit Kaur of Aakari village in Patiala district for embezzlement of panchayat funds amounting to ₹12.24 crore in the name of development works which were actually fake.
Chit Fund Scam
On August 16, 2022 a probe was ordered against Pearl Chit Fund Company that had allegedly looted money from people in different parts of the country through fraudulent investment schemes.
“A high-level probe has been ordered into the chit fund company ‘Pearl’ which created moveable and immovable assets worth billions of rupees by looting people’s hard-earned money of people of Punjab…detail will be made public soon,” said Mann in a tweet (Link)
Crop Residue Management Machines Scam
A probe has been ordered to investigate the disappearance of 11,275 crop residue management machines in Punjab. Punjab’s Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal said on 12th Aug 2022 that, according to initial investigation by the agriculture department, it appears that a sum of ₹125-150 crore has been misused by the previous government while implementing the central government scheme for in-situ management of crop residue during the period from 2018-19 to 2021-22.
Food Grain Transportation Scam
The Vigilance Bureau registered a case of corruption on 22nd Aug 2022 against the former Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Bharat Bhushan Ashu. He is alleged to have committed a fraud of Rs.2000 cr in transportation of food grains through fake vehicles. Favouritism happened while awarding tenders and fake vehicles were registered for transporting the grain. The recorded vehicle registration numbers were fond to be those of cars, scooters and motorcycles rather than of trucks and tractor-trailers.
It is the discrepancy in the records of the Food and Supplies Department, submitted by the contractor hired by the department during the previous Congress regime in 2020-21, that has helped the Punjab Vigilance Bureau unravel the scam. A case was registered against the owner/partners of Gurdas Ram & company (the firm that was allotted the contracts) as well as officers/officials of state Food & Civil Supplies department, and employees of the concerned procurement agencies for committing irregularities in Ludhiana district.
Following Ashu’s arrest, an aid sneaked out of his house on 22nd Aug 2022 with a bag of valuables and handed it over to his PA, while officials were conducting searches at his residence. The cops are on the lookout for the man.
Similar complaints of discrepancies in allotment of contracts in 2020-21 by the Food and Supplies Department has been received from 18 districts in the state and all of them are under investigation.
Land encroachment by Ashu and his associates is also being looked into.
Karnana Multipurpose Agricultural Service Society Scam
On 29th Aug 2022, the Vigilance Bureau unearthed a ₹7 Crore scam in the Karnana Multipurpose Agricultural Service Society Limited in village Karnana, and registered a case against 7 officers/employees at VB police station at Jalandhar. The Bureau also arrested the 5 accused.
Cooperative Society Scam
On 5th Sep 2022, Punjab Vigilance Bureau unearthed a scam of over 4 cr in a cooperative society and three were arrested. Fraud was committed by the employees and elected representatives of Kajla Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Limited at village Kajla, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar.
Fresh Probe into the Irrigation Dept Scam
On 15th Sep 2022, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann granted sanction to the Vigilance Bureau to go ahead with a fresh investigation into the role of two former Akali ministers and three IAS officers (now retired) in the Rs 1000 crore irrigation dept scandal which took place during the SAD-BJP regime. A contractor made direct allegations against the ministers, their PAs and the officers for taking bribe.
Investigation into Irregularities at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU)
On 23rd Aug 2022, the AAP Punjab government asked the Vigilance Bureau to investigate the alleged irregularities in the process of recruitment, appointments and financial matters at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU). This decision was taken after receiving many complaints regarding the same.
|June 29, 2022||The Vigilance Bureau arrested Bableen Kaur, Drug Inspector & Rakesh Kumar, Class-4 employee for taking a bribe of Rs. 30,000. Vigilance Bureau disclosed that complainant was called by Drug Inspector, who told him to contact Rakesh Kumar, who was posted with her previously, in this regard||https://twitter.com/PunjabGovtIndia/status/1542163452390543361?s=20&t=dKovGO0qS7D5D2Ci-OUmaA|
|July 01, 2022||Vigilance bureau nabs panchayat secretary Anil Kumar Panchayat Secretary, posted at Block Talwara, Hoshiarpur district red handed taking a bribe of Rs 10,000.||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/crime-justice/news/vigilance-bureau-nabs-panchayat-secretary-taking-bribe-of-rs-10000-171926|
|July 6, 2022||DSP #Faridkot Lakhvir Singh held for accepting Rs.10 lakh bribe from a drug supplier. |
TarnTaranPolice also arrested Drug Supplier Pishora Singh, who bribed accused DSP for not arresting and nominating him in FIR
|August 01, 2022||Vigilance Bureau nabs Naib Court ASI for taking bribe Rs. 7000||https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/punjab-vigilance-bureau-nabs-policeman-for-taking-rs-7000-bribe-8064413/|
|July 14, 2022||Lady EO, Junior Assistant of Ludhiana Improvement Trust nabbed by Vigilance Bureau, caught red-handed for taking a bribe for Rs 10,000.||https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/ludhiana/vigilance-bureau-catches-ludhiana-improvement-trust-junior-assistant-executive-officer-taking-bribe-412359|
|July 26, 2022||The Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Tuesday nabbed Sham Singh, Junior Engineer, PSPCL Alawalpur, Jalandhar red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 10,000 for the Installation of the power transformer.||https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jalandhar/vb-nabs-powercom-je-taking-10k-bribe-416097|
|July 29, 2022||The Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Friday arrested Assistant Manager Bikramjit Singh and Senior Manager Ashok Singh Mann for committing financial fraud in the Central Cooperative Bank branch in Ropar to the tune of Rs 1.24 crores||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/punjab/news/cooperative-bank-employees-held-in-punjab-for-embezzling-rs-12446547-176082|
|July 30, 2022||Punjab cop held for taking ₹9.5 lakh bribe to protect drug peddler||https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/punjab-cop-held-for-taking-9-5-lakh-bribe-to-protect-drug-peddler-101659123650171.html|
|August 3, 2022||Six PUNGRAIN employees booked for siphoning off 33,549 wheat bags valuing Rs.3.09 crore||https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/wheat-worth-3-09-crore-embezzled-in-ferozepur-418555|
|August 04, 2022||Vigilance Bureau nabs JE MGNREGA posted at BDPO office Jalalabad, Fazilka district for taking bribe of Rs.25,000. The complainant was later arrested in the case below.||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/news/news/vigilance-bureau-nabs-je-mgnrega-for-taking-bribe-rs25000-176783|
|August 04, 2022||Tax evasion: Punjab VB arrests mediator, recovers over 21 lakh, he was wanted in a case related to causing loss to the state exchequer for evasion of GST in connivance with excise and taxation officers in the state.||https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/tax-evasion-punjab-vb-arrests-mediator-recovers-over-21-lakh-101659556naib755005.html|
|August 10, 2022||Punjab Vigilance Bureau has arrested Naib Tehsildar Raghbir Singh posted at Sri Anandpur Sahib who had registered land measuring about 54 acres of village Karura, Rupnagar district in connivance with some private individuals which was sold to the state government at a price higher than the prevalent collector rate causing a huge loss of about Rs 4.8 crore to the state exchequer||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/punjab/news/punjab-vb-arrests-naib-tehsildar-for-conniving-in-selling-land-to-govt-at-high-cost-causing-a-loss-of-about-rs-48-crore–177444|
|August 11, 2022||Vigilance Bureau nabs ASI from Sehna, Barnala district red-handed accepting bribe of Rs 4,000||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/crime-justice/news/vigilance-bureau-nabs-punjab-police-asi-red-handed-accepting-bribe-rs-4000-177565|
|August 14, 2022||The Punjab vigilance bureau in July nabbed eight officials red-handed while accepting a bribe. Two were employees from Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) while three were with the Ludhiana Improvement Trust.||https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/eight-officials-landed-in-punjab-vigilance-net-for-bribery-in-july-101660426567210.html|
|August 19, 2022||The Punjab vigilance bureau on Thursday arrested retired junior engineer (JE), panchayat secretary and former sarpanch of Dhirkot village in Amritsar district for misappropriation in village funds to the tune of Rs 8 lakh.||https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/ex-junior-engineer-former-panchayat-secretary-ex-sarpanch-held-for-scam/articleshow/93650275.cms|
|August 19, 2022||Vigilance nabs peon posted in the office of ADA, PUDA Bhawan, Amritsar red-handed taking bribe of Rs 12,000||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/punjab/news/vigilance-nabs-peon-red-handed-taking-bribe-rs-12000-178512|
|August 19, 2022||The Vigilance Bureau has unearthed a scam in RTA office Sangrur and registered a criminal case against the RTA, Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI), two clerks, two middlemen and private agents. In this case the VB has arrested two employees and a middleman.||https://twitter.com/PunjabGovtIndia/status/1560620080752631811?s=20&t=zFqN68wvA-DBJ62v5hS2qw|
|August 18, 2022||Mohali: Vigilance Bureau arrests a revenue official from Punjab Mandi Bhawan for seeking ₹8,000 bribe||https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/mohalivigilance-bureau-arrests-revenue-official-for-seeking-8-000-bribe-101660768608701.html|
|August 24, 2022||The Punjab Vigilance Bureau during a surprise check of 7 RTA offices nabbed a Motor Vehicles Inspector (MVI) Jalandhar Naresh Kaler and a private agent Rampal @ Radhe. Bribe amount of Rs 12.50 lakh besides documents pertaining to suspicious issuance of fitness certificates to vehicles recovered.||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/punjab/news/vigilance-conducts-surprise-checking-at-seven-rta-offices-to-probe-irregularities-in-issuance-of-vehicle-fitness-certifi-179137|
|August 25, 2022||Punjab Vigilance registers case against ASI under police station Ghall Khurd in Ferozepur district for taking bribe of Rs.5000. The complaint was received on the anti-corruption helpline||https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/pb-vigilance-books-asi-for-seeking-bribe/articleshow/93789547.cms|
|August 30, 2022||Punjab Vigilance registers case against Sub Inspector for taking bribe of Rs.20000||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/crime-justice/news/punjab-vigilance-registers-case-against-sub-inspector-for-taking-bribe-of-rs20000-179898|
|September 1, 2022||The CBI court has framed charges against two employees of the Punjab Transport Department, Sarwan Kumar Bhatia and Damandeep Singh, in an alleged corruption case registered against them five years ago.||https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/charges-framed-against-two-punjab-transport-dept-employees-427719|
|September 07, 2022||Punjab vigilance bureau during its anti-corruption campaign on Tuesday, has registered a corruption case against Sukhwinder Singh, clerk, posted in District Education Officer (Secondary), Fazilka, for accepting a bribe of ₹2,000.||https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/punjab-vigilance-arrests-clerk-for-accepting-bribe-in-ferozepur-101662502596973.html|
|September 07, 2022||Punjab vigilance bureau on Wednesday caught red-handed, a registry clerk, Jaspal Singh, posted at Dirba tehsil while accepting a bribe of ₹10,000.||https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/punjab-registry-clerk-arrested-for-accepting-rs-10-000-bribe-101662565781947-amp.html|
|September 08, 2022||Xen, SDE, EE of Water Supply and Sanitation Dept booked by Vigilance – Sarpanch & Panchayat Secretary also booked for causing financial loss of Rs. 5,98,312 to the state exchequer during construction of water works in the village Mammukheda, Fazilka district.||https://www.babushahi.com/full-news.php?id=151718|
|September 10||The Punjab Vigilance Bureau registered a bribery case against two Assistant Sub Inspectors (ASI) and a lady Punjab Home Guard (PHG) volunteer out of which two police personnel accused have been arrested.||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/punjab/news/punjab-vb-registers-bribery-case-against-three-police-officials-two-arrested-181209|
|September 11, 2022||The Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) nabbed Jarnail Singh, Panchayat Secretary, Haraiau Khurd, allegedly while accepting a bribe of Rs 6,000. The suspect was arrested on a complaint filed by Ajaib Singh of the same village.||https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/patiala/patiala-panchayat-secretary-held-for-graft-430850|
|September 14, 2022||The Punjab Vigilance Bureau arrested Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Lakhwinder Singh posted at city police station Kapurthala taking a bribe of Rs 2000. Besides this, the Bureau has registered a corruption case against ASI Som Nath posted at city police station Kharar, SAS Nagar for demanding a bribe of Rs 60,000.||https://www.ptcnews.tv/punjab-vb-arrests-asi-red-handed-while-taking-bribe-of-rs-2000|
|September 16, 2022||Mohali cop demands ₹60,000 bribe for releasing impounded bike, booked after complaint was received on anti-corruption helpline||https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/mohali-cop-demands-60-000-bribe-for-releasing-impounded-bike-booked-101663276256489.html|
|September 15, 2022||Punjab Vigilance Bureau nabbed Revenue Patwari, posted at revenue halqa Batala Sarki in Gurdaspur district red handed for accepting a bribe of ₹4500.||https://twitter.com/PunjabGovtIndia/status/1570434823428374528?t=gU3Lf9WVxwEerKTCUAyRQA&s=08|
|September 13, 2022||The Vigilance Bureau during its campaign against corruption arrested six Passers/Mediators accused in GST scam. These private persons were bribing state taxation officials who in turn were giving them escape routes to evade taxes and further evading GST during checking of vehicles.||https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/gst-scam-6-arrested-by-vigilance/articleshow/94189165.cms|
|September 16, 2022||Vigilance registers case against five contractors for getting transportation tenders in Faridkot district on fake registration numbers of vehicles||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/punjab/news/vigilance-registers-case-against-five-contractors-for-getting-transportation-tenders-in-faridkot-district-on-fake-regist-182044|
|September 22, 2022||The Punjab Vigilance Bureau registered a case against the former Sarpanch Satnam Singh and Panchayat Secretary Sukhdev Singh for embezzlement in the funds of Gram Panchayat Sathiali, Block Kahnuwan, Gurdaspur district and arrested the former Sarpanch in this case. They had embezzled Rs. 20, 08, 602 out of the amount of grants and panchayat funds received from the government from the year 2013 to 2018||https://www.punjabnewsexpress.com/punjab/news/vigilance-bureau-registers-case-against-former-sarpanch-panchayat-secretary-for-embezzlement-in-panchayat-funds-sarpan-182850|
|September 30, 2022||Ludhiana: Vigilance Bureau nabs one while accepting a 1 lakh bribeA spokesperson of the bureau said that a .32 bore revolver, a car, and two mobile phones were recovered from the possession of the man.||https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ludhiana/ludhiana-vigilance-bureau-nabs-one-while-accepting-1-lakh-bribe/|
(Updated till about 18th Sep 2022)
Action by Vigilance Department
On 25th March 2022, Mrs Gurpreet Kaur Deo additional DGP was appointed as new Chief Vigilance Officer of Punjab Police Department by replacing Ishwar Singh ADGP cum Chief Director Vigilance Bureau.
Post Matric Scholarship Scheme
On February 17, the state government handed the case of post-matric scholarship scheme to the Vigilance Bureau for further investigation. Departmental action had already been taken in the multi-crore scam, with the dismissal of six accused errant employees.
“The departmental investigation revealed that disbursal of scholarship to eligible SC students was ignored and undue benefits were given to certain private institutes. —Dr Baljit Kaur, Social justice, Empowerment & Minorities Minister (Link)
The Vigilance Bureau is continuing to conduct a thorough probe into the scam to understand the role of former Social Justice Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot. The scam took place in 2019, during the Congress-led state government, and discrepancies amounting to Rs 55 crore were detected, of which over Rs 16 crore access payment was allocated to some colleges. Instead of taking action against these erring institutes, benefits running into crores were extended to them again. Role of former CM Capt Amrinder Singh is also under question as he gave a clean chit to Me Dharamsot while knowing that there is no trace of Rs 39 crore, which was disbursed to some “ghost” colleges. The scam violated the entitlements of scholarship to eligible SC students, while the funds were used to give undue benefits to certain private institutes.
Previous Congress government didn’t take any action and tried to brush the scam under the carpet. As a direct impact of the transparency in process, the number of SC students applying for the scheme which drastically reduced to 1.95 lakh in 2021-22 rose to a high of 3 lakh mark in 2022-23
Yearly Performance of Vigilance Bureau
On January 08, 2023, VB Chief Director-cum-ADGP Varinder Kumar proudly announced that the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) had been able to arrest total 172 accused in 129 bribery cases which included 83 accused in 65 trap cases and 89 persons in 64 online complaints in the last year. This included 30 personnel of Punjab Police, 13 of revenue department, 5 power department and 4 local bodies, most of these were nabbed red handed while taking bribes in different trap cases from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.
The exercise led to 135 criminal cases against 371 accused, including 35 gazetted officers (GOs), 163 non-gazetted officials NGOs and 173 private persons. Additionally, 103 vigilance enquiries were registered against 139 suspects to probe corruption complaints which include 35 GOs, 58 NGOs and 46 private persons. Besides, 2 cases of disproportionate assets were also registered against one GO and NGO.
This was a record in registration of bribery cases, arrests of accused in corruption, registration of criminal cases and arrests made thereof besides filling of vigilance enquiries (VE) and suspects involved in these probes as compared to the last two years.
The Vigilance Bureau adopted a multi-facet approach to corner the bribe seekers and to generate awareness among the public with a resolute stand to curb this social malady. Chief Minister’s Anti-Corruption Action Line on 23 March 2022 is a part of this multi pronged approach which showed notable results in 2022.
2 NGOs dismissed from their services
The Vigilance Bureau conducted 39 enquiries and dismissed 2 NGOs from their services due to conviction in various courts.
Special courts sentences 30 accused
Various special courts sentenced 2 GOs, 18 NGOs and 10 private persons accused in 19 different vigilance cases registered under prevention of corruption act and awarded imprisonments up to five years. The special courts have also imposed fines varying from Rs. 5, 000 to Rs. 33, 00, 000 in these cases which amount to a total sum of Rs. 37, 90, 000.
Prominent persons arrested
Some notable people arrested in various corruption cases are – Four former ministers Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Sundar Sham Arora,
Former chairman improvement trust Amritsar, Dinesh Bassi, Sanjay Popli.
Bureaucrats IAS, chief forest conservator Parveen Kumar, IFS, forest conservators Vishal Chohan, IFS, and Amit Chohan, IFS, DFO Guramanpreet Singh.
Contractor Harminder Singh Hummy, Telu Ram, Yashpal and Ajaypal
AIG Ashish Kapoor, PPS, general manager PUNSUP Naveen Kumar Garg, district commander Punjab Home Guards Mrs Nirmala and platoon commander Anmol Moti, ETO Sandeep Singh.
On Dec 25th 2022, Punjab Vigilance Bureau also arrested Sub Inspector (SI) Harpal Singh (82/Jalandhar), posted as SHO police station Dhillwan, Kapurthala district and his subordinate Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Harwant Singh (405/Kapurthala) for taking a bribe of ₹6,500 and demanding more ₹50,000.
On Dec 20th 2022 An employee of the Punjab Forest Corporation was arrested red-handed for accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 by vigilance.
Action by respective departments
On Oct 28th 2022, after surveying 30,00,000 beneficiaries of state pension schemes, Punjab Govt identified 90,248 deceased beneficiaries claiming various pension schemes. After rectification, Punjab Govt will save Rs. 13.53 crores per month, translated to Rs. 162.36 crores savings annually.
On 6th May 2022, AAP Punjab government started scrutiny of all PWD tenders of past 1 year to unearth corrupt practice of previous Congress Government. As an example for Kapurthala Smart City Project which was tendered by Congress for 100 crs, when re-tendered by AAP Govt the cost to taxpayer was 80 crs, hence saving of 20 crore of the taxpayer’s funds.
On 3rd Aug 2022, AAP Punjab Government reiterated its resolve to ensure transparency in every department, especially in Food & Supplies department. As part of this, zero tolerance policy was adopted towards malpractices in this department. This included steps like –
- Pending issues to be addressed within the time frame.
- Applications with regard to procuring license from the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to be sent within one week.
- The stock in the godowns should be thoroughly checked and the items contained in the stock register must match with the stock present.
- Dispatching reports in a timely manner in this regard.
- Strengthen the Worker Management Committees in their respective districts so as to redress the issues of the workers thus bringing them into the mainstream.
- Uniformity in the matter of setting up of clusters in the mandis and no cluster should exceed the capacity of 50000 M.T.
Land deal during Badal government to be probed
On Nov 27th 2022, AAP Punjab agriculture minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal announced that the department has decided to probe the purchase of 700 acres of land situated in village Ranian of district Amritsar, along India-Pakistan border. The land was allegedly purchased at exorbitant prices for the purpose of establishing a seed farm.
During the Parkash Singh Badal government tenure, the agriculture department purchased the land for ₹32 cr to establish a seed farm in 2008. ₹8 cr was also spent on purchasing equipment, including 30 submersible tubewells for irrigation, electricity and tractors, generators and other machinery. But there was thick and tall growth of elephant grass on the land, which was claimed to have been cultivated three or four times. The investigation will include the farmers who sold this land and the prior owners will be questioned to find out the truth
“The then government purchased this land in 2008 at ₹4.5 lakh per acre, which is across the Ravi and the barbed wire on the international border and one cannot enter this land without the prior permission of BSF. An investigation will be conducted under which ‘scheme’ was this land purchased”, – Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Punjab agriculture minister said. (Link)
Corruption in purchase of medical supplies during COVID
On Feb 19 2023, a report of a special audit of Covid procurement was revealed by the AAP Punjab government. The audit was triggered by a series of stories in the media between March and September 2022 about possible scams and sheer disregard of rules in Covid-related procurement like hand sanitisers, masks, furniture, floor disinfectants between March 2020 and March 2022. There were reports that Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) procured medical supplies of 16 items worth Rs 60 crore and signed various contracts during the pandemic period by “throwing rules to the wind and in an autocratic manner”.
“It seems that the procurement at the corporation was done in an autocratic way without following due procedure and rules notified by the government. The officials have used their power in an arbitrary manner and was apathetic and unconcerned about the transparency required to be followed in public procurement,” the report observed (Link)
Some points from the report are –
- In purchase of Truenat (chip-based real time PCR) test kits and e-stethoscopes worth Rs 9.89 crore, the audit team noted that “the officials were apathetic in following due procedure and rules framed by the governments.”
- In procurement of fully auto analysers worth Rs 13.19 crore. The audit found that the supply order of 225 analysers was issued. But the order was placed as a repeat order on the basis of a single page order of Department of Animal Husbandry, Bhopal. There are no documents or notings placed on file regarding justification of this procurement. The order for such a huge amount without inviting any tender / bids seems to be an autocratic way of procuring items without following due procedures, signifying strong possibility of undue financial benefits to the firm.
- In hand sanitiser procurement, the audit observed that the previous L-1 bidder, who was selected for procurement to the Election Commission for supply of hand sanitisers at Rs 54 per bottle, was not asked for additional supply of 1,55,910 bottles while PHSC initiated the process of procurement on Controller of Stores rates which was Rs 160 per bottle on a request letter received from M/s NW Overseas. Also, the procurement branch did not put up the back history and previous efforts for purchasing hand sanitiser.
Anti-corruption steps in Housing & Urban Development Department
On Dec 27 2022, Punjab Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) Minister Aman Arora, on Tuesday evening, conducted a surprise inspection at PUDA Bhawan to ensure discipline and corruption free working of the department.
The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the workload of the staff and pendency at their level. The senior officers were instructed to rationalize the workload of the officers and ensure a transparent & prompt approach towards work. H&UD department has adopted zero-tolerance towards corruption and delay in service delivery. Specifically, attention on old fashioned techniques like sitting on files, which fosters corruption and would invite stern action.
The department had recently issued show-cause notices to 42 officials, besides charge-sheeting three officials for dereliction of duty. H&UD department has put in place an online mechanism in which applications and files received by the Department are being monitored by the top officers & ministers in the Ministry.
On Jan 12th 2023, Finance, Excise and Taxation Minister Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema conducted surprise checking of attendance of Excise & Taxation Officers (ETOs) and Excise Inspectors posted at various Distilleries & Bottling plants through the real time based E-surveillance system of Excise dept. This was to ensure full attendance and reduced corruption in the department.
On 1st Oct 2022, Punjab State Power Ltd suspended three officials including Superintending Engineer after irregularities were found in awarding orders for erection of electric lines. Dept also terminated services of a Computer operator involved in these irregularities.
On 10th July 2022, The AAP Punjab government suspended four officers of the Public Works Department (PWD) for carrying out road construction in the Hoshiarpur district amid heavy rainfall.
Other anti-corruption governance steps
On 7th Jan 2023, Punjab Horticulture Minister Fauja Singh Sarari on Saturday resigned from the Cabinet, after his name surfaced in a case of devising an extortion plan. This was the second minister to be fired in the just nine-month old AAP government. Earlier, Vijay Singla was dropped from the Cabinet on corruption charges. In September, an audio clip surfaced where he was allegedly discussing an extortion plan to trap foodgrain transporters. Though Sarari has all along maintained that the audio clip was doctored.
On March 25th, 2022, AAP Punjab government chief minister Bhagwant Mann announced only the officials with clean public image will be involved in public dealing positions. This was to ensure public faith in government services and to break the ice between govt and people. He ordered the CS to submit ACR report of all Public officials within 10 days. Corrupt officers to be removed from all important posts- pending inquiry and only clean officers will be put in public dealings.
On Nov 30, 2022 Punjab Chief Minister conducted a surprise check at the local Tehsil complex and the Suvidha centre in Ludhiana. AAP Punjab government is firmly committed to weed out the menace of corruption from the state, and processes are in place to punish the corrupt officers named by the people, if they seek bribes or benefits in exchange of doing their routine work.