Punjab initiates probe against Chahal’s kin


Chandigarh : The Punjab government Thursday said it had initiated an inquiry into allotment of prime land to an educational trust owned by a relative of B.I.S. Chahal, then media adviser to former chief minister Amarinder Singh.

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Local Government Minister Manoranjan Kalia said that land was allotted to the Dashmesh Education Trust of Patiala in Jalandhar by the Jalandhar Improvement Trust in December last year in violation of laid down procedures.

Chahal, who is in judicial custody for the last fortnight, is facing charges in five cases ranging from attempt to murder to cheating, criminal intimidation and fraud.

All cases against him were registered by the Akali Dal government led by Parkash Singh Badal.

A controversial but powerful media adviser to Amarinder Singh, Chahal is also being probed for corruption cases.

Kalia said that the then improvement trust chairman, Tejinder Singh Bittu, signed a lease agreement with the educational trust even before getting an approval from the then government for this land deal. He said that the lease deed was signed on Nov 20 last year while a resolution was passed in this regard by the trust on Dec 1.

The minister pointed out that possession of land was given to the educational trust on Dec 6 while the government approval for the proposal was sought on Dec 27.

"Large-scale irregularities were found in the agreement in which prime land was allotted to the educational trust," Kalia said.

He added that the land to be leased, according to newspaper advertisements for the purpose, was far less than the three acres allotted finally to the educational trust.

Kalia said that the lease was arbitrarily increased to 99 years from 33 years. He said that the agreement did not contain proper signatures of lessees and witnesses with their addresses.