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Guava 'Scam': ED Seizes Over Rs 3 Crore In Cash During Raids In Punjab

The searches were launched on Wednesday and a total of 26 residential and business premises in Ferozepur, Mohali (SAS Nagar), Bathinda, Barnala, Patiala and Chandigarh were raided.

Guava 'Scam': ED Seizes Over Rs 3 Crore In Cash During Raids In Punjab
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The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday said it seized Rs 3.89 crore in cash and "incriminating" documents during raids in several premises in Punjab, including that of two IAS officers, as part of a money laundering case liked to an alleged guava orchard compensation scam.

The central agency, however, did not clarify what was recovered from where.

The searches were launched on Wednesday and a total of 26 residential and business premises in Ferozepur, Mohali (SAS Nagar), Bathinda, Barnala, Patiala and Chandigarh were raided.

The premises of two IAS officers -- Punjab Excise Commissioner Varun Roojam and Ferozepur Deputy Commissioner Rajesh Dhiman -- were also searched apart from some revenue and horticulture department officials and private persons.

The money laundering case stems from an FIR of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau against alleged main accused Bhupinder Singh, Jasmine Kaur and others.

"During the search, incriminating evidence, property documents, mobile phones and cash worth Rs 3.89 crore were seized," the ED said in a statement.

The case pertains to 2016 when the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) initiated the process of acquiring land of various villages of SAS Nagar (Mohali) for setting up Aerotropolis Residential Project near IT City and an aerocity in the same district, it said.

"Private persons close to officers of GMADA, Revenue department and Horticulture department were aware of the fact that compensation for fruit-bearing trees (guava trees) would be assessed separately from the value of land acquired and additional compensation was to be granted as per the quality, age and various other parameters related to guava trees planted." 

"Accordingly, persons involved in the scam (beneficiaries, officers of GMADA, Revenue and Horticulture departments) colluded amongst themselves and created false, forged records and reports regarding existence, age, quality and density of guava trees to avail wrongful compensation," the ED alleged.

It claimed that the total "proceeds of crime" identified in the case so far was about Rs 140 crore.

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