Chandigarh: The Punjab government has suspended two fugitive Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers, who are facing corruption charges and have been absent from duty for a long time.

DFO Ropar, Amit Chauhan was booked by the Vigilance Bureau (VB) in a corruption case on June 6, 2022, in FIR number 7, along with former ministers Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, S.S. Gilzian, DFO Mohali, Guramanpreet Singh, Conservator of Forest Dilpreet Singh and four others. He has been declared absconding and has now been placed under suspension.

Chief Conservator of Forests, Amit Mishra, while posted in the Forest Development Corporation, bought land for forest development but was accused of fraud for showing inflated land prices and pocketing state funds. The price paid to the landowners was far below what was shown in the records.

WB launched a regular investigation into the fraud and issued him a summons to appear before the investigating officer. Instead of joining the investigation, he ran away and cannot be traced. He too has been placed under suspension.

Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Raji P. Srivastava confirmed that the two officers were absent from duty without permission and were placed under suspension. A departmental inquiry will be initiated against them as per service rules.

The forest department issued a charge sheet against DFO Guramanpreet Singh, Punjab Forest Service Officer and Conservator of Forest Dilpreet Singh. A challan of 900 pages was presented against all the 9 accused in the Mohali Special Court on August 6, 2022.

Raji Srivastava told indianarrative.com that the English version of FIR number 7, among other documents, was requested by the VB so that the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India could be asked to grant prosecution sanction against the IFS officer. Vishal Chauhan. His name, along with that of Parveen Kumar, was added to the same FIR after evidence surfaced as the investigation progressed. A separate challenge is to be presented against Kumar soon.

The main accusations against the two former ministers and officials are improperly issuing permits for cutting hair trees by taking money, transferring officials to checkpoints after taking bribes, issuing certificates of no objection to various projects falling in forest areas, for consideration. , procurement of tree guards and iron mesh at high prices and illegal mining in protected forest areas.

There is another controversy awaiting action from the Punjab government. It refers to the cutting of about 24,000 trees along the Bist Doab Canal. An inquiry conducted by former chief secretary Anirudh Tiwari some 10 months ago, on the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), has not been acted upon. She filed charges against two IFS officers, Kuldeep Kumar PCCF (retd), and Jagdev Singh, DFO (retd).

Another IFS officer faces CBI and Vigilance Bureau charges pending trial in two courts in Mohali. The Punjab government has also been seized for another act of misconduct by the same officer who sanctioned himself a temporary pension by way of an order bypassing the scrutiny of the forest and finance departments. This habitual litigator, involved in various court cases with colleagues, is due to retire early next year.

In the same league, four more IFS officers were charged in the 54-acre land deal scam in Ropar.



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