Tarn Taran, June 21
The Rural Development and Panchayats Department has detected an embezzlement of Rs 7.45 crore allegedly committed by then Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) of Valtoha, Lal Singh.
Though Lal was a Social Education and Panchayat Officer (SEPO), he was given an additional charge of the BDPO. District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) Satish Kumar today said the embezzled amount was released in the form of grants by the state and the Centre during the last four years. He said other irregularities were also committed by Lal.
The DDPO said the matter was brought to the notice of the department and a departmental enquiry was conducted to unravel the truth. He said Lal was suspended after the embezzlement was detected.
Satish added that the BDPO was given a chance to come out clean but he failed to produce any record related to grants, which were utilised for laying roads in the border area, construction of stadiums in villages and panchayat ghars among others. There was misuse of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) funds and income generated from panchayat land in villages, claimed the DDPO.
Notably, the the issue was raised by different political parties in the past as well, but the department refrained from taking any action. On June 1, 2022, a complaint was lodged with the state government and the department completed the enquiry by June 16 and a case was registered on June 20.
Senior Superintendent of Police Ranjit Singh Dhillon said a case has been registered under Section 406 of the IPC and 13(1), (1a) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The SSP said the accused was on the run and a hunt has been launched to nab him at the earliest.