Punjab VB Makes Significant Arrest in Labour Cartage and Transport Tender Scam

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In a major breakthrough, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) has successfully apprehended Ajaypal from Udhanwal village in SBS Nagar. He is alleged to be a key player in a fraudulent labour cartage and transport tender scheme operating within the grain markets of the SBS Nagar district. Ajaypal, who had been on the run, surrendered after persistent raids conducted by the VB at various locations. The arrest is part of an ongoing investigation, which has also implicated other contractors and officials associated with the Food and Civil Supplies Department and procurement agencies.


The VB secured a two-day police remand for Ajaypal, marking a significant development in the case. The investigation, initiated on September 22, 2022, exposed irregularities in the SBS Nagar grain markets, resulting in charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act against several individuals, including former Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu and his associates.


Previously, a case was registered against Ashu, his PA Pankaj Kumar, Deputy Director RK Singla, DFSC Rakesh Bhaskar, and contractors Telu Ram, Yashpal, and Ajaypal. The fraud orchestrated by these individuals led to substantial financial losses for the state exchequer.


The investigation unveiled that tenders submitted by Honey Kumar and PG Godown for labour cartage and transport were unreasonably rejected, only to be awarded later to Telu Ram and Ajaypal at significantly inflated rates. Scrutiny revealed discrepancies in the submitted lists of vehicles, including scooters and motorcycles, supposedly intended for transporting food grains.


Further investigation exposed embezzlement of funds and fraudulent reporting, extending to the use of fake Aadhaar cards. These cards falsely enlisted minors and individuals above 60 years as laborers during the tender process. Gate passes were also found to be manipulated, contributing to the overall malpractice.


Five key accused, including Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Menu Malhotra, Telu Ram, Yashpal, and Ajaypal, have been apprehended. The VB continues its relentless pursuit of justice, emphasizing a strong stance against corruption and malpractices in public procurement processes. Efforts are ongoing to apprehend the remaining fugitive suspects, while DFSC Rakesh Bhaskar has unfortunately passed away, and RK Singla has been declared a proclaimed offender by the Ludhiana court.

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