Former Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal booked under corruption charges

  • | Tuesday | 26th September, 2023

BATHINDA: Punjab Vigilance Bureau has registered a case against former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, a PCS officer Bikramjit Singh Shergill and four others, for causing loss to the exchequer to the time of Rs 65 lakh in purchase of two plots measuring up to 1560 square yards at Bathinda. Badal has been accused of using his influence as finance minister to manipulate the then commissioner and superintendent of the Bathinda Municipal Corporation, concealing various details about the plot auction. These plots were allegedly purchased by persons close to Manpreet Badal in a purported auction in September 2021 and were later transferred in his name just a few days after the auction.Former Bathinda Urban MLA Sarup Chand Singla, who was then with the Shiromani Akali Dal, filed the complaint accusing Badal of fraudulently using his influence to secure the plots in the auction for individuals close to him, causing a significant loss to the exchequer.Upon registering the case under sections 420, 409, 467, 468, 471, and 120B of the IPC, 66(c), 66(d) of the Information Technology Act, and 13(1)(A) read with 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the vigilance bureau has arrested Rajiv Kumar, Vikas Arora, and Amandeep Singh in connection with the case. These individuals had filed applications to participate in the auction from the same IP address, allegedly at the direction of Manpreet Badal. It is learned that vigilance is in the process of completing the legal formalities to arrest three others.Meanwhile, Manpreet Badal has termed the action against him as politically motivated. Chief minister Bhagwant Mann, while addressing a meeting on September 22, had announced the intention to register a case against Manpreet. Consequently, Manpreet Badal has filed for pre-arrest bail in the Bathinda district court, and the hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.A senior official from the Punjab Vigilance Bureau has confirmed the registration of the FIR against Manpreet Badal and five others.

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