Disbursal of excess compensation for land acquisition along highway resulted in loss to exchequer

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth ₹11.62 crore in connection with the alleged disbursal of excess compensation to the people from whom land along the National Highway (NH) 74 in Uttarakhand was acquired. It resulted in a loss of ₹215.11 crore to the exchequer.

The properties belonging to Barinder Singh, Balwant Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Vikramjeet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Harjinder Singh, their family members, and Fibremarx Papers Private Limited of Jasdeep Singh Goraya, have been attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The assets include agricultural/industrial land, commercial plots and buildings located in Udham Singh Nagar, and the balances in five bank accounts.

The ED probe is based on an FIR registered, and a chargesheet filed, by the Uttarakhand police against Dinesh Pratap Singh and others revenue officials, farmers and middlemen. It is alleged that Mr. Singh and Anil Shukla, the then land acquisition officers, conspired with others to grant compensation at non-agriculture rates.

This was done on the basis of a back-dated order for changing the land use from agriculture to non-agriculture. Back-dated entries were also made in revenue records.

The ED probe revealed that the land owners received higher compensation, and they gave commission to the accused revenue officers. The funds were diverted to the accounts of various individuals and entities.

Barinder Singh and Balwant Singh diverted the proceeds of crime to the tune of ₹9 crore, and Harjinder Singh to the tune of ₹1 crore, to the accounts of Jasdeep Singh Goraya and Mehak Kaur, which was used in their company, Fibremarx Papers. Ramesh Kumar created the fixed deposits in the name of his family member.

In the same case, the agency had earlier attached properties worth ₹21.84 crore, which was confirmed by the PMLA Adjudicating Authority.

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