Chandigarh, September 19
As the investigation into the multi-crore irrigation scam begins afresh, the Punjab Government has issued a lookout circular against three former bureaucrats and two Akali leaders.
The circular has been issued against former Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, former Special Chief Secretary KBS Sidhu and former Secretary KS Pannu. The circular has also been issued against two former Irrigation Ministers (in the then Badal government between 2007-2012 and 2012-2017), Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Janmeja Singh Sekhon.
Last week, permission was granted by the state government under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act to investigate the role of the three former IAS officers. All suspects, along with some personal staff members of the former ministers, have been accused of taking bribes from contractor Gurinder Singh and allotting him work worth Rs 1,200 crore in the Irrigation Department.
The lookout circular, say top officials in the government, has been issued to ensure that they do not leave the country. This has been done in the wake of one of the main accused in the tender allotment scam of the Food and Supply Department, now dismissed Deputy Director RK Singla, having fled the country while the investigation was on. “We didn’t want a similar embarrassing situation. So, as soon as the Chief Minister gave the nod for an investigation into the case to the Vigilance Bureau, we issued the lookout circular,” said a top officer of the Vigilance Bureau.