Union Min Bansal named in shop allotment scam



Chandigarh: A probe into the multi-crore rupee fraud in allotment of small shops in this union territory has named Chandigarh MP and union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, besides senior bureaucrats and police officers, for being part of a "booth mafia" flourishing here.

The 700-page probe report prepared by Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officer PS Shergill, who was earlier posted as additional deputy commissioner in Chandigarh and has now been repatriated to his parent state Punjab, was recently submitted to Chandigarh deputy commissioner.

Shergill has brought under the scanner the role of Pawan Kumar Bansal, advisor to Chandigarh administrator Pradip Mehra, former Chandigarh deputy commissioner RK Rao, officers of Chandigarh estate office and senior police officials.

The report highlighted glaring irregularities in the allotment of small shops (called booths) in Sector 41 here on subsidised rates, apparently as a compensation for the fire at Bajwara market in Sector 22 in 1989.

The report stated that following the fire, many unscrupulous people managed to secure licences by conniving with police and administration.

"The financial dimensions of the fraudulent allotments run into crores of rupees, which include money being paid to the politicians, police officials and officers of the estate office. Several bogus surveys and inspections were done by the estate office, further strengthening the claims of illegal allottees," the report says.

Following complaints from various quarters, Chandigarh administrator Shivraj Patil had ordered an inquiry in March 2010.

Shergill has also recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allotment.

IANS