Former Kurali Councillor Arrested in Disproportionate Assets Case

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Former Kurali Councillor Arrested in Disproportionate Assets Case

Punjab vigilance bureau on Friday arrested former Kurali councillor Gaurav Gupta in connection with an ongoing disproportionate assets case. Gupta was produced before a Mohali court which sent him to four days of police custody.

Gupta is accused of helping former executive officer of Zirakpur municipal council Girish Verma amass assets disproportionate to his known source of income.

Verma and his accomplices Sanjiv Kumar, a resident of Kharar, and Pawan Kumar Sharma, a resident of Panchkula, are already under arrest.

The case goes back to 2022 when an FIR was lodged by the vigilance bureau against Girish Verma and his accomplices. During the investigation, it was found that Girish had purchased 19 prime residential/commercial properties in the names of his wife Sangeeta Verma and son Vikas Verma.

Verma has served as EO with the municipal councils of Zirakpur, Kharar, Kurali, Derabassi, among others.

An official spokesman of the bureau said Verma used to pass on wrongful benefits to local builders/developers and take money from them in the form of unsecured loans.

“Vikas Verma, the younger son of Girish Verma, who is staying abroad, was also found to have been received financial aid from some local builders and developers. Investigation is underway,” the spokesman said, adding that the money was utilised to purchase properties.
Son Vikas Verma and wife Sangeeta Verma did not have any lawful source of income other than rent from properties purchased with tainted money, he said.

Vikas Verma became a partner in real estate firms Balaji Infra Buildtech and Balaji Developers in 2019-20.

Revealing the modus operandi, the spokesman said Vikas’ partners in crime Sanjiv Kumar, Gaurav Gupta and Ashish Sharma, all residents of Kurali, indulged in fraudulent activities by preparing antedated agreements to sell plots and get residential colonies regularised in a clandestine manner. Accused Gaurav Gupta was the founder of these firms and a major partner. He had 80 per cent stake in Balaji Infra Buildtech. He had invested crores of rupees, along with his partners, to purchase agricultural land in Kharar and then unlawfully got a residential colony regularised on this land. Thereafter, 15 per cent of his share was transferred to Vikas Verma, son of Girish Verma.

The spokesman said anticipatory bail of Sanjiv Kumar, Gaurav Gupta and Vikas Verma were earlier dismissed by the high court. Moreover, Sanjiv Kumar had moved the Supreme Court for bail, but didn’t get any relief.

Another accused in the case Pawan Kumar Sharma, a coloniser and resident of Panchkula, had been arrested in June 2023 for helping Girish Verma amass disproportionate assets.
Pawan Kumar Sharma had helped Girish Verma by selling an open plinth (storage godown) situated on five acres of land in Khudal Kalan village, tehsil Bareta, in Mansa district. This land was registered with a significant markdown in valuation with the help of Verma.

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