Chandigarh shop scam involves union minister: Report (Lead)

March 2nd, 2011 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Shivraj Patil Chandigarh, March 2 (IANS) The probe into a major fraud in the allotment of small shops here has found Chandigarh MP and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal guilty along with senior civil and police officers.

The 700-page report prepared by Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officer P.S. Shergill was recently submitted to the Chandigarh deputy commissioner.

Shergill has brought under the scanner the role of Bansal, advisor to Chandigarh administrator Pradip Mehra, former Chandigarh deputy commissioner R.K. Rao, officers of Chandigarh estate office and senior police officers.

The report highlighted glaring irregularities in the allotment of small shops (called booths) in Sector 41 here on subsidised rates, apparently as a compensation for the fire at Bajwara market in Sector 22 in 1989.

The report stated that following the fire, many unscrupulous people managed to secure licences by conniving with police and administration.

“The financial dimensions of the fraudulent allotments run into crores of rupees that include money being paid to the politicians, police officials and officers of the estate office. Several bogus surveys and inspections were done by the estate office, further strengthening the claims of illegal allottees,” the report says.

Following complaints, Chandigarh administrator Shivraj Patil had ordered an inquiry in March 2010.

Shergill has also recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the scam.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded the resignation of Bansal.

“Shergill had demanded 94 booth files but he was given only 82. Responsibility should be fixed for the loss of these files, which were carrying important records. Out of the total allotted 82 booths, irregularities were found in 80 allotments,” Sanjay Tandon, president BJP (Chandigarh unit), told reporters.

“Pawan Kumar Bansal is directly involved in the case and he should immediately resign from his post. The BJP wants a CBI probe and registration of FIR (police report) against all those involved in the scam,” added Tandon.

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