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Now ED raid in Punjab in guava orchard compensation scam

By IndianMandarins- 27 Mar 2024
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Chandigarh (27.03.2024): After Delhi, now the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided 20 locations in Punjab including houses of state excise and taxation commissioner Varun Roojam in Chandigarh and deputy commissioner Rajesh Dhiman in Ferozepur in a money-laundering case which is linked to Rs 137 crore guava orchard compensation scam. In September last year, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the accused beneficiaries to deposit a total of Rs 72.36 crore of which Rs 43.72 crore has been given till January 30 this year.

This action was taken after BJP’s state chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar complaint to Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking a probe into Punjab’s excise policy as well. ED was in the process of summoning excise department functionaries in Delhi for questioning.
The ED case was registered after the federal agency took cognisance of a Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) FIR pertaining to embezzlement of Rs 137 crore released as compensation for guava orchards on land acquired by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) at Bakarpur village. The name of Jasmine Kaur Dhiman, the wife of Rajesh Dhiman, is listed as a beneficiary who got handsome compensation wrongfully in lieu of the land acquired by GMADA at Bakarpur village.
It was alleged that Varun Roojam had invested in the orchard through his family members on the persuasion of Rajesh Dhiman, the then additional chief administrator (ACA) of GMADA. The accused prepared fake revenue documents, the VB probe found.
Main accused Bhupinder Singh had taken a compensation of Rs 23.79 crore for guava plantations for himself and his family, while Dhiman’s wife was paid a compensation of Rs 1.17 crore. Mukesh Jindal of Bathinda took a compensation of Rs 13.93 crore, while Patiala-based chartered accountant Anil Arora was paid Rs 1.14 crore as compensation.

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