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‘Funds embezzled’: Centre seeks probe into Jalandhar Smart City ‘scam’

Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal has written to Union Housing and Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri, seeking inquiry and action against those guilty in the alleged Rs 1,000-crore Smart City scam in Jalandhar.

  • Rs 1,000 crore was approved under the Centre’s Smart City Project for the Jalandhar MC
  • With ‘connivance’ of officials, contractors and politicians, the amount was allegedly embezzled by using it for other projects

Meghwal’s letter came after prominent BJP leaders of Punjab wrote to him on January 2 to get an investigation conducted by the CBI and Central Vigilance Commission into the scam. Fifteen local BJP leaders had sent a complaint regarding the matter to the minister.

Jalandhar BJP president Sushil Sharma, one of the signatories of the complaint, shared Meghwal’s letter with the media here today.

In his letter to Puri, Meghwal wrote, “Jalandhar BJP leaders, through their letter dated January 2, informed me that an amount of about Rs 1,000 crore had been approved under the Central Government’s Smart City Project for the Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar, through the Punjab Government. But due to connivance of some officials, contractors and political leaders, the amount was embezzled by using it for various other projects decided as per their whims, as opposed to the designated projects. A mega scam has been carried out in the name of the Smart City Project. The state government’s connivance can also be seen in it.”

“Officials of the department concerned be directed to carry out a fair inquiry into the issue and requisite action be initiated against those found guilty,” Meghwal urged Puri.

Among the charges raised by BJP leaders was MC officials’ alleged connivance in opening companies in name of favoured contractors’ kin/relatives/associates, which charged high rates for showing good quality work, but used substandard material.

They also alleged that LED lights project tenders and the 5-km road project were handed over to favoured contractors.

Sharma said, “In the name of many Smart City Projects — roads, LEDs, parks, chowks, flyovers, underbridges, providing clean water to every home — only scams took place.” BJP leaders Ashok Sarin Hickey, Rajesh Kapoor, Amarjeet Goldy, Ajay Chopra and Sunny Sharma were also present.

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