Jasvinder Singh vs State Of Punjab on 22 February, 2024

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Punjab-Haryana High Court

Jasvinder Singh vs State Of Punjab on 22 February, 2024

Author: Anoop Chitkara

Bench: Anoop Chitkara

                                                               Neutral Citation No:=2024:PHHC:025085




CRM-M-547-2024




                        IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA

                                      AT CHANDIGARH


                                                                 CRM-M-547-2024 (O&M)
                                                                  Reserved on: 13.02.2024
                                                               Pronounced on: 22.02.2024

Jasvinder Singh
                                                                            ... Petitioner(s)
                                           Versus
State of Punjab
                                                                          ...Respondent (s)


CORAM:             HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ANOOP CHITKARA

Present:-          Mr. G.S. Brar, Advocate and
                   Mr. Shivam Vashisht, Advocate
                   for the petitioner(s).

                   Mr. ADS Sukhija, Addl.A.G., Punjab.
                         ***

ANOOP CHITKARA, J.
FIR No.         Dated          Police Station            Sections
1               10.02.2017     Economic Offences Wing, 409, 420, 467, 468, 471, 201, 120-B
                               Vigilance       Bureau, IPC and Sections 13(1)(d) read with
                               Ludhiana                Section 13(2) of the Prevention of
                                                       Corruption Act, 1988.

1. The petitioner who was in custody since 18.11.2023 for illicitly purchasing land
to enable its acquisition on higher rates in connivance with Anand Sagar Sharma, SDM,
Hoshiarpur, has come up before this Court by filing the present petition under Section
439 CrPC seeking regular bail.

2. Vide order dated 23.1.2024, this Court has granted interim bail to the petitioner
subject to compliance of certain conditions and one such condition was that the
petitioner shall voluntarily declare his assets and shall not claim such declaration as
violative of Article 20/21 of the Constitution of India or any other fundamental
right/law.

3. Case of the prosecution is taken from reply dated 23.1.2024 filed by way of
affidavit of concerned DySP, which reads as under:-

“1. That it is pertinent to mention here that the FIR No. 01 dated
10.02.2017, registered Under Section 409, 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B IPC

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and Section 13 (1) (d). 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988,
at Police Station Economic Offences Wing, Punjab, Vigilance Banau
Ludhiana, was initially registered after Vigilance enquiry no. 09/2016
Jalandhar. Earlier 13 accused were nominated in this FIR and the role
played by other 15 suspects was to be investigated. Thereafter, during
the course of investigation a SIT was constituted to investigate the said
matter by the then Chief Director Vigilance Bureau Punjab vide its office
order dated 25.05.2018. The said SIT investigated the matter and filed
cancellation report before the Hon’ble Special Court of Dr. Ajit Attri,
Ludhiana on 13.06.2019.

2. That the Hon’ble Special Court of Dr. Ajit Attri, Ludhiana had directed to
further investigate the said FIR vide its order dated 05.04.2022. That as
per the direction of this Hon’ble court the case was further investigated
especially in the light of following 13 points.

a) Whether any permission was sought from the Municipal
Committee, Hoshiarpur/administration prior to publication of
notification no.3-A for the development of the colonies or not
and what is the exact time of the development of colony if any?

b) Whether the proper procedure for the change in the nature of
the land has been followed before issuance of the variation
certificates and when the change in the nature of land was
applied in each such case and when the necessary procedure was
followed in each case of change of the nature of the land?

Whether owner of the land moved any written application
before the SDM with regard to change in nature of the land or
and whether these application were entered in the diary by
assigning the numbers? Apart from this, whether the nature of
the land could be changed after publication of the notification
no.3-A, 3.0, 30 or not and if it was possible, then what procedure
was to be adopted for this purpose? In how many cases the
nature of the land is changed after the notification 3A, 3-D and
3G?

e) Whether the land in question has been sold or purchased after
publication of notification no.3-A and subsequent notifications in
pursuance to some conspiracy by the accused? The number of
the sale deeds executed and registered immediately before and
after the issuance of the notification/s, the market rate of the
area prior to those sale deeds and the market rate of the area
after the issuance of the notifications?

d) In how many cases the applications for the change in the
nature of the land were received, in how many cases such
application were allowed and in how many cases the applications
were not allowed? The entire process followed for the change of
the nature of the land?

e) To what extent the amount of was increased on change of
nature of the land on sale/purchase of land in question after the
publication of notification no.3-A?

f) On what basis, the amount of compensation was calculated?

g) To how many persons the compensation was disbursed and at
what rate, who purchased land after the publication of
notification 3-A?

h) What were the guidelines of the M.OR.TH regarding the aspect
of sale/purchase of the land during the process of acquisition?

i) What were the responsibilities of the CALA regarding the issue
of sale/purchase of the land and whether CALA carried out his

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responsibilities as outlined in the M.O.R.T.H guidelines?

j) Whether the proper procedure was followed by CALA in
determination of 1 the compensation to be paid to the land
owners?

k) Whether the change of the nature of land in question
influenced the rates of compensation, if yes, then how much loss
was caused by this to the State?

l) Whether the CALA determined the rates of compensation
bases on nature of the land and market value as on the date of
notification issued under section 3-A of the N.H. Act 1956 or not?

m) Whether criteria followed for deciding the market value of
the lands was based on the parameters provided by the law?

3. That, in order to comply with the directions of the Hon’ble court under
order dated 05.04.2022, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was
constituted. Thereafter, during the course of further investigation by the
said SIT, new facts have been discovered regarding the gravity of offence
committed by the in the said After perusal of the case documents by the
SIT, it has come to notice that Draft 3A schedule was prepared by the
survey company Louis Berger group and same was sent to office of XEN
PWD Hoshiarpur (Project Director). Thereafter the same draft 3A
Schedule was further sent to the office of co-accused Anand Sagar
Sharma who was the then SDM-cum- Hoshiarpur by XEN PWD
Hoshiarpur vide office letter no. 903 dated 19-01-2015 for verification of
khasras. It is pertinent to mention here that the accused Anand Sagar
Sharma the then SDM-cum-CALA Hoshiarpur intentionally and with
malafide kept the said Draft 3A schedule pending in his office for four
months and fraudulently changed the khasra numbers of five villages
namely Khwaspur/Piplanwala, Dagana Kalan, Dagana Khurd,
Hardokhanpur and Bassijana in the 3A schedule. By doing this he
illegally created a new road alignment falling in the above mentioned
five villages. That, in order to prove this illegal road alignment, the
present SIT compared both the draft 3A schedule prepared by Louis
burger company and 3A schedule prepared by the accused and then
SDM cum CALA Anand sagar sharma along with mentioned khasra
numbers in both and map showing the road alignments through
concerned Revenue officials. (Copy of the comparison report and map
attached herewith as annexure-1).

4. That after the creation of new road alignment in the above mentioned
five villages the accused Anand Sagar Sharma the then SDM-cum-CALA
Hoshiarpur involved his near and close persons namely Harpinder Singh
etc. That accused Harpinder Singh started purchasing the agricultural
land in villages Khawaspur and Hardokhanpur in is own name and in the
name of his family members/relatives/close associates. Thereafter, in
connivance and conspiracy with accused Anand Sagar Sharma, the
accused Harpinder Singh and other accused mentioned in this FIR
received compensation on colony/residential rates, which is totally
unfair and in the eyes of law. It is worth while to mention here that the
present SIT while during the course of investigation obtained reports
from the concerned departments to verify and investigate the facts as
following:

(i) The SIT obtained report dated 04/10/2023 from the office of District
town planner hoshiarpur and as per this report/record no CLU/Lay
out/Site plan/NOC were issued by the then office. In fact there is no
communication between any of the accused who filed application under

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3C and the Office of District town planner with regard to same. It is
crystal clear from the report of DTP dated 04/10/2023 that there is no
basic facility like street lights/drainage system/water supply etc.
available even as on date as per the record. (Copy of the report dated
04/10/2023 is attached as annexure- 2).

(ii) That during the course of investigation the report from PSPCL was
also obtained. While in the said report dated 10/10/2023 it is specifically
mentioned that none of the accused who filed application under 3C has
applied for issuance/installation of the electricity meter nor the same
has been issued by the department as per the office record. (The copy
of said PSPCL report dated 10/10/2023 is attached as annexure-3)

(iii) That the report from the revenue department was also obtained by
the SIT during the course of investigation and as per the said report ated
21/09/2023 there is no colony/residential area in the said land described
Soy the accused while filing application under 3C. Even the said area is
surrounded by agricultural land with crops as well. (The copy of revenue
report dated 21/09/2023 is attached as annexure-4).

5. That as per the los laid down in the National Highway Act 1956 under
section 3D(2):-

“On the publication of the declaration under sub-section (1), the land
shall vest absolutely in the Central Government free from all
encumbrances,” But the accused and the then SDM cum CALA Anand
sagar sharma, in connivance and with other accused and by abusing
process of law kept transferring the ownership titles in the changed
khasra numbers in 3A schedule by him even after notification under
3D/3G, even when the names of actual owners of the land were already
published in the notification under 3D/3G, in order to give compensation
to other accused and conspirators in this matter. It is also pertinent to
mention here that the course of investigation the actual owners of the
land came forward and got recorded their statements that the accused
have cheated and defrauded them and their compensation amount has
been grabbed by them, in connivance and conspiracy with each other.

6. Detail of sequentially published notifications regarding the acquisition of
land Sunder National Highway 70 (Now NH-3) (Jalandhar-Chintpurani) as
following:

Sr. No. Notifications Date of Publication in newspaper

1. 3A 14.07.2015

2. 3D 10.11.2015 & 11.11.2015

3. 3G 01.12.2015

7. Specific role of the accused/petitioner Jaswinder Singh:

That the accused/petitioner was working as revenue (Patwari) of villages
Daganu kalan, Dagana khurd and Hardekhanpur at Hoshiarpu. That the
accused/petitioner is retired now. The accused petitioner is aware of the
rules and working of the revenue department and in particular being
Parwari, he was aware of the law laid down in the National Highway Act
1956 under section 3D(2) as explained in the para no.5 above. That after
the proceedings of 3D/3G (notification) the accused/petitioner, in
connivance and conspiracy with co-accused Anand Sagar Sharma (the
then SDM-cum-CALA Hoshiarpur), co-accused and the then Tehsildar
namely Baljinder Singh, co-accused and the then Nayab Tehsildar
namely Manjit Singh and other co-accused approved the mutation and

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got transferred various lands from actual owners to the new land
owners who are also co-accused in this FIR. That the accused/petitioner
got transferred a huge amount (in crores) in the name of co-accused
who became new land owners by the outcome of this conspiracy and
grabbed the huge compensation amount. This way the
accused/petitioner having mala fide intention and mens rea cheated and
defrauded actual owners who were not aware of the land acquisition
proceedings going on. The accused/petitioner caused a huge financial
loss to the government exchequer.”

4. It remains undisputed that the main accused namely Anand Sagar Sharma, the
then SDM, Hoshiarpur has been granted anticipatory bail by this Court.

5. Given the nature of allegations against the petitioner and his pre-trial custody
of around 3 months, this Court is of the opinion that there would be no justification for
further incarceration of the petitioner.

6. Given above, the interim order dated 23.01.2024 is made absolute, subject to
the condition that the petitioner shall not violate any terms and conditions mentioned
in the said order and in case the petitioner does so, the State shall file an application
for cancellation of bail before this Court without any delay.

Petition allowed in aforesaid terms. All pending applications, if any, stand disposed.




                                                                (ANOOP CHITKARA)
                                                                     JUDGE

February 22, 2024
AK


Whether speaking/reasoned             :                Yes
Whether reportable                    :                No




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