Chandigarh: The Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) has registered a corruption case against former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal and four others.
An official spokesperson said on Monday that the VB had also arrested three accused - Rajiv Kumar, Amandeep Singh and Vikas Arora, trio residents of Bathinda.
The spokesperson said that the case was registered on a complaint filed by Saroop Chand Singla, former MLA Bathinda city, against Manpreet Singh Badal and others.
A five-time legislator, Manpreet Singh Badal was earlier with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) but joined Congress in 2016 and is now with BJP since January 2023.
Vigilance Bureau's findings in the case
The VB spokesperson held that during the probe it was found that Manpreet during his tenure as finance minister from the year 2018 to 2021 used his political pressure and influenced to purchase two plots measuring 1,560 square yards of land in Model Town phase-1 Bathinda caused a financial loss of lakhs of rupees to the state exchequer.
Badal's role in the crime
The spokesperson further held that during the investigation of complaint, it was found that the former finance minister, using his influence, colluded with the officials and employees of BDA Bathinda and mislead the general public during the bidding of plots in the year 2021 and fake maps were uploaded to prevent participation of general public in the bidding process.
Rigged bids and purchase of plots
During the probe it also came to light that the bids of the sole three bidders namely Rajiv Kumar, Vikas Arora and Amandeep Singh were made by one person, advocate Sanjiv Kumar from the same IP address and from the same place. Apart from this, both the plots were purchased by the bidders in 2021 at a lower rate which was fixed during an auction in the year 2018 causing a financial loss of about Rs 65 lakh to the government.
The former finance minister had purchased both plots through agreements from the bidders known to him before they got allotment letters from BDA Bathinda, the spokesperson held and added that it was also found that Manpreet Singh Badal had transferred 25% earnest money in advance to the successful allottees which shows his in connivance with the bidders.