CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Saturday gave a clean chit to Punjab CM Capt Amarinder, his son Raninder Singh and son-in-law Raminder Singh and all other accused in the Rs 1,144-crore Ludhiana City Centre scam.
The bureau filed a cancellation report in the case in the court of Ludhiana Sessions and District judge Gurbir Singh.
The agency had filed an FIR in March, 2007 against Amarinder and thirty five others, including the managing director of Delhi-based firm ‘Today Homes’ entrusted with the task to complete the infrastructure of the City centre project announced by Captain during his tenure as CM in 2003. The vigilance filed a 130-page charge-sheet in the court in December the same year and it also listed 152 persons as witnesses in the case. Later, a 20,000-page file regarding the charges was also submitted in the court. However, the case remained pending trial in the Ludhiana court, as the charges were not framed against any of the accused.
Sources said that just few days before the Assembly election results were declared in March this year, the bureau decided to review the case following an application filed by Chetan Gupta--one of the accused in the case, who is also the director of ‘Today Homes’.
This Ludhiana City Centre project, first announced in 2003, was launched in 2006 and was touted as the fourth-largest project in Asia involving multiplexes, malls and leisure parks.
But when SAD-BJP government came to power in February 2007, the then government registered a case against Amarinder and others for tweaking rules to favour ‘Today Homes’. It was alleged that the infrastructure firm received undue benefits of at least Rs 1,144 crore due to the favoritism by Captain and officials of Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT).
The case was not pursued actively in SAD-BJP’s second term (2012 to 2017). In 2015, the Enforcement Directorate initiated a probe into the project and registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to look into the trail of the scam money.
Last year vigilance bureau had filed a closure report in a court in Mohali in the Amritsar Improvement Trust scam that also allegedly involved Capt Amarinder Singh.