Mohali, August 22: The Punjab Vigilance Bureau on late Monday evening arrested former Congress minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu in a tender scam.
Bharat Bhushan Ashu was arrested from a salon, where Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu was also present.
Meanwhile, PPCC chief Raja Warring along with other Congress workers has left for Ludhiana to gherao the Vigilance office.
Disclosing the details, spokesperson of the State Vigilance Bureau (VB) said that the Bureau, after verification of a complaint made by complainant Gurprit Singh, has already registered FIR No. 11 Dated 16-08-2022 u/s 420, 409, 467, 468, 471, 120-B IPC and 7, 8, 12, 13(2) Preventions of Corruption Act at VB police station Ludhiana in which contractors namely Telu Ram, Jagroop Singh and Sandeep Bhatia besides owner/partners of Gurdas Ram & Company has been booked.
Revealing more he informed that accused Telu Ram has already been arrested in this and he is on police remand. During investigation by the VB, accused Telu Ram has submitted that he met Bharat Bhushan Ashu through his PA Meenu Malhotra for getting tenders for the season 2020-21 who further told him to meet Rakesh Kumar Singla, Deputy Director Food & Civil Supplies. Singla was in charge of all Punjab being chairman of departmental chief vigilance committee for tenders and was acting on the directions of former minister.
The accused Telu Ram has informed the VB that when he met RK Singla, he has demanded Rs 30 Lakh on behalf of former minster and on different days he has given the bribes to RK Singla Rs 20 lakh, PA Menu Malhotra Rs 6 lakh and money to officers.
The spokesperson added that on the basis of revelations as well as the material evidence above mentioned persons and former minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu have been nominated as an accused in this case. During Investigation it has come on record that Telu Ram has purchased about 20 acres land and accused Meenu Malhotra, who is at large, has also made number of properties and record is being collected in this regard. He informed that the record with regard to posting of accused Rakesh Kumar Singla is also being collected besides properties made by him would be probed.
Revealing modus operandi of this scam, the spokesperson informed that the tenders were invited cluster wise in which 'A' group of mandis and work of all procurement agencies was allotted for the cluster and name of leading mandis in particular area was used as cluster name.
In Ludhiana district, Telu Ram was having 4 clusters namely Jodhan, Mullanpur, Raikot and Payal which contains 34 grain markets. Apart from this, Telu Ram was also having cluster in district Ferozpur at Talwandi Bhai and district Ropar local.
Bharat Bhushan Ashu was Food and Civil Supply Minister during the Congress regime. He has been arrested by a team of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau from Ludhiana for alleged irregularities in the tender scam.
After Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Bharat Bhushan Ashu is the second minister from the previous Congress government to have been arrested by the AAP government on corruption charges.
Earlier in the day, Congress workers, led by Raja Warring, staged a dharna in front of the office of Vigilance Bureau in Mohali, and within hours of this protest, the Vigilance Bureau initiated action against Ashu. He was arrested from a salon in Ludhiana.
Ashu, at the dharna, had claimed himself to be "innocent" and openly challenged that the Vigilance Bureau should arrest him if they were evidence against him.
This is a breaking news.