Vigilance Bureau arrests former minister Ashu’s absconding PA Pankaj Malhotra
Chandigarh : In the multi crore transportation tender scam in the grain markets of state, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) on Friday arrested absconding accused Pankaj Malhotra @ Meenu Malhotra, who was working as personal assistant (PA) privately with former food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu when he surrendered himself in the office of Bureau at Ludhiana.
He was under pressure having apprehension that the court could declare him proclaimed offender (PO) in this scam as the VB has already initiated legal proceedings against him and another accused Inderjit Singh @ Indi, PA of above said former minister and next date of hearing was fixed for 23-12-2022. He would be produced in competent court tomorrow at Ludhiana.
Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the VB said the Bureau had already registered a case under FIR No. 11 dated 16-08-2022, under sections 420, 409, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of IPC and 7, 8, 12, 13(2) of prevention of corruption act against contractor Telu Ram, Jagroop Singh, Sandeep Bhatia and owners/partners of Gurdas Ram & company as well as officers/officials of Punjab food and civil supply department besides respective officials/employees of the concerned procurement agencies for allocation of labour and transportation tenders in various grain markets.
He informed that in this case accused Telu Ram, former minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Krishan Lal Dhotiwala and Anil Jain (Both commission agents) had already been arrested and all are in judicial custody. In addition to this, the VB has already presented supplementary chargesheet against Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Telu Ram and Krishan Lal in the competent court at Ludhiana.
Giving more details the spokesperson further informed that during the probe and material evidence, it has came to light that accused Meenu Malhotra was working as PA with Bharat Bhushan Ashu and received bribe money of Rs 6 lakh from accused contractor Telu Ram in order to arrange his meeting with the former minister for allotment of tenders for labour and transportation works for the year 2020-21 in the grain markets. He added that further investigation of this case was under progress.