Barinder Saluja, Chandigarh, March 02 : UT probe indicts Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal along with former Mayor of Chandigarh, Pradeep Chabbra, 15 police officials and estate officers under the scanner for so called “Booth Mafia” scam. Report by ex-ADC calls former mayor Pradeep Chabbra a ‘member’ of the mafia. Role of Advisor Pradip Mehra and ex-DC also under scanner. In his inquiry report submitted to the UT Administrator, a senior government officials has exposed a “booth mafia” in Chandigarh, allegedly enjoying the patronage of senior politicians, police officers and officials of estate office and Chandigarh administration. The report running into more than 700 pages, has brought under scanner the roles of Chandigarh MP & Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, UT Advisor Pradip Mehra, former Mayor Pradeep Chabbra, former Deputy Commissioner R.K.Rao, three DSP’s of Police and eight officials of UT estate office for allegedly making 90 fraudulent allotments of commercial booths in sector 41.
The report, which has recently been submitted to Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh, follows a year long magisterial probe conducted by then deputy commissioner, P.S.Shergill. Following a series of complaints, UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil had ordered this probe on March 20, 2010. Describing the modus operandi of the alleged nexus between the main players, Shergill, who has recently been repatriated to his parent state Punjab, has recommended an immediate probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged irregularities in the booth allotment. He has suggested a criminal case against those indicted.
It is recommended that all the fraudulent allotments be declared as illegal in 90 cases in sector 41; the records relating to allotment be sealed; possession of the booths be stayed till further orders; the antecedents of the estate Officers should be verified by CBI before recruitments; and the ongoing probe by Vigilance be stopped & shifted to CBI, as there are chances that the booth mafia will connive with the vigilance officers to tilt the case in their favour.
Those who have been termed as under scanner and indicted are former assistant estate officer Ashwani Kumar; D S Balouria(tehsildar); Prem Sharma(in-charge); Ashok Bish(Superintendent, enforcement); Dharam Singh(assistant); Ranbir Singh Gill (assistant); PC Dhami(incharge); RK Arora(enforcement inspector), they all belong to Estate Office, Chandigarh and those from the Police department are DSP Jagbir Singh; DSP Satbir Singh; DSP Vijay Kumar; Insp. Janak Rana; Insp. Bishi Ram; Sub-insp. Hira Lal; insp. Sucha Singh.
The local opposition parties have also come down heavily on this very issue and called immediate press conferences to highlight the frauds. The Local Unit of Janata Dal (U) Chandigarh has demanded an immediate resignation of Mr. Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs who has been inducted in an enquiry into the fraudulent allotment of Booths in Sector 41, Chandigarh. Mr. Surinder Bhardwaj, the President of Local Unit of Janata Dal (U) said that Mr. Bansal has been the kingpin of the land mafia in Chandigarh and acts as a Godfather and protector of its henchmen who works on his behalf for his financial and political benefits.
Mr. Bhardwaj said that the Govt. of India should initiate a CBI inquiry on the report of Additional Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh who has exposed the misdeeds of the nexus between the local Congress (I) leader and the corrupt official of the Chandigarh Administration. Mr. Bhardwaj said that there are many more scandals hidden in the cupboards of Chandigarh Administration which can be exposed by an impartial inquiry by the CBI. Mr. Bhardwaj added that these Congress leaders have also groomed thousands of land encroacher in the markets of all the Sectors of Chandigarh and are extorting money from them running into crores of rupees. Mr. Surinder Bhardwaj further demanded that the Prime Minister of India taking note of the misdeeds of his minister should sack him in case Mr. Pawan Kumar Bansal fails to submit his resignation. Mr. Bhardwaj said that his party will expose more scandals of Congress (I) leaders running in connivance with the official of the Chandigarh Administration.
Though, Mr. Bansal totally deny of this fact and said,”I am not aware of any such report and its contents. It is a foul play against me. I am open for any kind of scrutiny.”