Punjab: Vigilance arrests sarpanch for embezzlement of Rs 12.24 crore panchayat funds

Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Tuesday arrested Harjit Kaur, sarpanch of Aakari village in Patiala district for alleged embezzlement in panchayat funds amounting to Rs 12.24 crore in the name of development works.

Giving details, a VB spokesperson said that Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had acquired shamlat land measuring 1,104 acres belonging to five different villages for construction of Amritsar-Kolkata integrated corridor.

Rs 285 crore was given to Pabra, Takhtu Majra, Sehra, Sehri and Akari villages in Shambu Block of Patiala district for the same. Of this, Rs 51 crore was received by gram panchayat of Akari for their acquired land measuring 183 acres 12 marla, the official said.

During investigation, it came to light that sarpanch Harjit Kaur initiated development works with the money. However, during physical check of these works by the VB technical team, it was found that Kaur passed a large amount of the money through fake resolutions of gram panchayat for fake construction of village pond, community centre, cremation grave yard, panchayat ghar and burms of a drain. To prove the works as genuine, she released payments through cheques to different firms, he added.

An FIR dated 26.05.2022 was registered under Section 406, 420, 409, 465, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of IPC and section 13(1) read with 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act with VB police station.

The spokesperson added apart from VB probe, another enquiry regarding these development works was also completed by Additional Chief Secretary-cum Financial Commissioner Rural Development & Panchayats, SAS Nagar.