Punjab: ED Arrests Former Forest Minister Sadhu Singh Dharmasot In PMLA Case

Punjab: ED Arrests Former Forest Minister Sadhu Singh Dharmasot In PMLA Case

The ED had earlier raided the premises of Dharamsot, 64, and another forest minister Sangat Singh Giljian and several forest officials in November last year.

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 12:12 AM IST
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Sadhu Singh Dharmasot | File photo

Chandigarh: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday arrested the Congress leader and former Punjab forest minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot in a money laundering case following a probe linked with an alleged forest scam.

The probe pertained to the allegations of bribery in the forest department in lieu of issuance of permits for (khair) tree felling and for the transfers and postings in the department during his stint as the forest minister.

The ED had earlier raided the premises of Dharamsot, 64, and another forest minister Sangat Singh Giljian and several forest officials in November last year.

Dharmasot was arrested last year too

Dharamsot, a five-time legislator from Nabha, was earlier arrested by the state vigilance bureau last year in a case of disproportionate assets. He was arrested along with two Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers in a case linked to alleged cases of disproportionate assets. He was the first former minister who was put behind bars by the chief minister Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. The ED had taken documents from the VB and also registered two cases against him and some officials.

According to information, the ED teams also raided the premises of Gilzian in Hoshiarpur district. He was also forest minister in the previous Congress government and who had succeeded Dharamsot.

The money laundering case

According to information, the case pertained to huge bribes given to political leaders or their frontmen and senior officials of the state forest around 2017 by private contractors in lieu of cutting hundreds of khair trees.

According to media reports, a contractor had also allegedly given ₹500 a tree to Dharamsot to cut khair trees and had got a permit for cutting about 7,000 trees. He gave another ₹500 to senior officials of the forest department. The former minister also allegedly got huge bribes from the forest officers in lieu of transferring them to ``lucrative’’ postings during his tenure as forest minister for about three years in the previous Congress government.

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