Keeping in view the gravity of the offence and heavy involvement of amount in a scam in Punjab Irrigation department, the Additional District and Session Judge Mohali rejected the bail application of contractor Gurinder Singh who has been booked by the Vigilance Bureau in this case.
An official spokesperson said the Bureau had pleaded that to probe irregularities in allotment of tenders in the irrigation department, a criminal case under section 13(1) d r/w 13(2) PC Act – 1988 and 406, 420, 467, 468, 471, 477-A and 120-B of IPC had been registered against Gurinder Singh contractor and four senior officers of the department at Police Station – Vigilance Bureau, Flying Squad-I, S.A.S. Nagar.
It was further contended in court that the Bureau was investigating illegal allotment of multi-crore projects in irrigation department to a few favoured contractors by the concerned officers who provided them tailor made conditions of contracts and ignored prescribed conditions and flouted all rules/regulations of tenders. During the probe it was found that the officers gave extra leverage to the accused Gurinder Singh in allotment of works to the tune of hundreds of crores and caused huge loss to the State exchequer.
The district court pronounced that custodial interrogation of the accused was very much necessary to ascertain how tailor made conditions suiting only to the contractor were got imposed in number of works.It also observed that the bail applicant did not deserve the leniency of bail as the investigation agency had to find out how the accused managed to get huge profits out of contacts as well as heavy withdrawals of cash and motive behind clearing the bank lockers after registration of this vigilance case.
The spokesperson disclosed that the VB teams conducted searches at various places as the accused contractor had amassed huge wealth and acquired more than 30 properties worth Rs. 100 crores illegally in Chandigarh, Mohali, Ludhiana, Patiala and Noida. During 2006-07, annual turnover of the said contractor was only Rs. 4.74 crores and it swelled to approximately 300 crores by 2016-17. He added that the contractor in conniving with officers of the irrigation department had also compromised with the quality and quantity of material in the works.
He further said that terms and conditions for e-tendering of works were tailor made to eliminate other bidders and to allot the work to Gurinder Singh. Many tenders were allotted to him on the basis of single bids and he had charged rates which were excessive and inflated.
The spokesperson revealed that in many tenders, dates of tenders were fixed in such a manner to show that it was emergent in nature and were allotted wrongly to the Gurinder Singh. During the investigations it was also found that estimates of works of drainage were not got vetted from the Technical Advisor to then Punjab Chief Minister and exemptions for this were obtained by submitting wrong facts. It was also found that rates charged by the said contractor for works allotted to him were more than the rates prescribed by the department whereas rates quoted by other contractors have been found to be 20 per cent to 30 per cent less than rates of contractor Gurinder Singh.