Vigilance Bureau nabs Mining dept officers for Rs 5 lakh bribe


Amidst an ongoing campaign against corruption in the state, Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) on Thursday nabbed an Executive Engineer (XEN) and a Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) of the Mining department for accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh, an official statement said. According to the statement, the arrested accused officers have been identified as Sartaj Singh Randhawa, XEN posted at Hoshiarpur and Harjinder Singh, SDO posted at Dasuya.
Disclosing the detentions on Friday in Chandiagrh, a VB official spokesperson said that Jaspreet Singh, a resident of Dholan village lodged a complaint that he was working with Regal Enterprises Company as a Site Controller. The company had been awarded a contract for land-filling at the Mukerian-Talwara Railway line and had submitted Rs 41,10,117 as a fee fixed by the government with the department concerned to excavate soil from village Ghagwal of tehsil Dasuya. Thereafter, it was come to their notice that the land, for which the fee was paid, was under the jurisdiction of sections 4 and 5 of the Forest Department.
The company filed an application to transfer the royalty in March this year. The complainant along with his senior Jatinder Singh met the accused SDO and the XEN at the latter’s office in July and the XEN Randhawa said that the royalty could not be transferred but after repeated requests, he said that SDO Harjinder Singh would talk to them in this regard. “After a few days, the accused SDO called Jatinder to his office in Dasuya and said XEN Randhawa had demanded Rs 12 lakh as a bribe to transfer the royalty. Later, the accused SDO agreed on Rs 8 lakh for the same.”
After a preliminary investigation of the complaint, the spokesperson said that a team of VB unit Hoshiarpur laid a trap and arrested both the accused while accepting the bribe money of Rs 5 lakh from the complainant in the presence of official witnesses. In this regard, an FIR dated 31-08-2023 under section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and 34 of IPC has been registered against XEN Sartaj Randhawa and SDO Harjinder Singh at Police Station VB, Jalandhar Range. “Both accused will be produced in the court on Friday and further investigation is under progress”, he added.