ED attaches Rs 21.96-crore assets in NH-74 widening scam case

New Delhi: Assets worth Rs 21.96 crore were attached under the anti-money laundering law in an alleged corruption case related to the widening of the NH-74 in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, the ED said on Tuesday. 

The provisional order for attachment of the assets was issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the agency said. The attached properties belong to special land acquisition officers, land owners, farmers and middlemen.

The assets include agricultural and industrial land, commercial plots and buildings located in Dehradun and Udham Singh Nagar districts of Uttarakhand, and Rampur district in Uttar Pradesh. 

Deposits in 11 bank accounts and mutual funds have also been attached, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said.The central probe agency said it initiated the probed under the PMLA in the case on the basis of an FIR and charge sheet filed by the Uttarakhand Police against Dinesh Pratap Singh, revenue officials, farmers and middlemen. 

Singh and Anil Shukla, officials working in the capacity of competent authority of land acquisition then, entered into a conspiracy with other public servants, farmers and middlemen for misappropriation of government funds by granting compensation at non-agricultural rate, the ED said. 

The compensation at non-agricultural rate is much higher than the agricultural rate, it said. "The higher compensation was paid on the basis of back dated order passed under section 143 of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari and Land Reform Act, 1950 for changing the land use from agriculture to non-agriculture and subsequent back dated entries in revenue records and documents, " it said. 

"These forged or back dated documents were projected as genuine at the time of awarding the compensation which resulted in the loss of Rs 215.11 crore to the government," the agency alleged. 

The ED said it was found in the probe that the farmers and the land owners who got higher compensation had utilised the excess amount in buying immovable properties, making deposits in bank and giving commission to revenue officers. Further probe is underway, it said.

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