Punjab Vigilance Bureau in 2022 arrested 172 accused in 129 bribery cases. They included four former Congress ministers, an IAS officer, a chief forest conservator, two forest conservators and an Assistant Inspector General of Police, bureau’s Chief Director-cum-ADGP Varinder Kumar said on Sunday
He said the arrested 172 accused included 83 in 65 trap cases and 89 in 64 online complaints in one year. The bureau has set a record in registration of bribery cases, arrests of accused in corruption, registration of criminal cases and arrests made thereof, besides filing of vigilance enquiries against suspects involved in these probes as compared to the last two years.
Giving details of high-profile cases, he said four former ministers, Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Sundar Sham Arora; former chairman of the Improvement Trust Amritsar, Dinesh Bassi; Sanjay Popli, an IAS officer; Chief Forest Conservator Parveen Kumar; Forest Conservators Vishal Chohan and Amit Chohan; Divisional Forest Officer Guramanpreet Singh; contractor Harminder Singh Hummy, Assistant Inspector General of Police Ashish Kapoor; PUNSUP general manager Naveen Kumar Garg; district commander Punjab Home Guards, Nirmala and platoon commander Anmol Moti; Excise and Taxation Officer Sandeep Singh; and contractors Telu Ram, Yashpal and Ajaypal were booked and arrested in various cases.
Kumar said the Bureau has adopted a multi-facet approach to corner the bribe seekers and to generate awareness among the public. During the year, 30 personnel of Punjab Police, 13 of the Revenue Department, five of the Power Department and four of the local bodies were caught red-handed while taking bribes from January 1 to December 31, 2022.
To encourage people to come forward and report corruption in state public offices, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had launched Chief Minister’s Anti-Corruption Action Line on March 23, 2022, which has shown notable results.
Giving more details about the performance of the Bureau, Kumar said the Bureau has registered 135 criminal cases against 371 accused which includes 35 gazetted officers, 163 non-gazetted officials, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and 173 private persons.
Apart from this, 103 vigilance enquiries have also been registered against 139 suspects to probe corruption complaints which include 35 gazetted officers, 58 NGOs and 46 private persons in the last year.
Besides, two cases of disproportionate assets were registered against one gazetted officer and an NGO.
Two NGOs have been dismissed from their services by their respective administrative departments due to conviction in various courts, he added.
He said special courts have sentenced two gazetted officers, 18 NGOs and 10 private persons accused in 19 vigilance cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act and awarded imprisonments up to five years.
The special courts have also imposed fines varying from Rs 5,000 to Rs 33,00,000 in these cases which amount to a total sum of Rs 37,90,000, he said.
The Chief Minister’s Anti-Corruption Action Line received 3,72,175 complaints last year, out of which 6,407 complaints were received with audio or video recordings and 294 complaints pertaining to the vigilance bureau.