A day after demolition drive, bribe finger at Mohali DFO, Conservator of Forests

day after The Forestry Department has removed illegal construction and planted seedlings in Masol and Karoran District Villagers, Chief Governor (Hills) Harsh Kumar on Friday wrote a letter to Additional Secretary of Punjab (Forest and Wildlife) to convey two officers involved in the anti-trespassing campaign on Thursday as a complaint was received against them.

Kumar said the complaint was filed by Devinder Singh Sandhu, Director of Global Migration Services. Kumar said Devinder had lodged his complaint with the country’s president, prime minister, chief justice and chief minister of Punjab. In his complaint, Devinder alleged that the District Forestry Officer (DFO), Ghuramanpreet Singh, and the forest governor, Vishal Chauhan, demanded a bribe from him.

Kumar, in turn, stated in his letter to the Senior Additional Secretary for Forests and Wildlife Raj P Shrivastava that he had received a complaint against two of his officers, along with a video clip in which the two officers can be seen discussing the matter of taking money from Defender. He then states that at first glance it appears that the video was original and then the two officers are transferred as soon as they are not able to influence the investigation of the case.

The complainant, Devinder Sandhu, said that the case against his father, Colonel BS Sandhu (retired) on 9 May in Nayagaon for violation of Punjab Land Protection Act (PLPA), was filed at the request of DFO, Guramanpreet Singh.

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As he stated in his complaint that he was contacted by a broker at the request of the DFO and during their meeting at a real estate agent’s office near TDI on Airport Road, DFO Guramanpreet Singh was also present. During the meeting, the broker handed over Rs 2 lakh which was allegedly handed over to the DFO.

Devinder said he made a video of the entire meeting, which he attached as a guide to the relevant authorities.

“In the video, the broker, Harmohinder Singh Hummy, told me that for each farm sale of Rs 1 crore, DFO should be given Rs 90 lakh,” the complainant claimed.

Contacted, DFO Guramanpreet Singh told The Indian Express that the allegations against him are false and baseless and that he sent his response to the department, along with Devender Singh Sandhu revealing all the illegal construction he had built on the forest land.

He also described the video as fake and claimed that the footage had been manipulated by the complainant to defame him.

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