Vigilance Probe Launched into Alleged Irregularities Involving Punjab Congress Chief Raja Warring

Rozana Spokesman  | Amanat Thaper

News, Punjab

Punjab VB Raises concerns of a potential Rs 100 crore scam

PPCC Chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring

CHANDIGARH: Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, the Punjab Congress state president and former Transport Minister, finds himself under the scrutiny of the Vigilance Bureau as allegations of procuring bus bodies at exorbitant prices from Rajasthan have surfaced. Acting on these allegations, the state government has directed the Vigilance Bureau to commence an inquiry into Raja Warring's actions.

The Vigilance Bureau has swung into action, poring over documents from the transport department, as it delves into the matter. Raja Warring assumed the role of Transport Minister in Charanjit Singh Channi's cabinet in 2021. Officials from the Vigilance Bureau have confirmed that the initial phase of document examination is underway, with the possibility of further action if any discrepancies are uncovered.

According to documents at the disposal of the bureau, during Raja Warring's tenure, Punjab Roadways purchased 841 buses, the body of which were manufactured in Rajasthan. Additionally, the fitting contract was awarded to a Jaipur-based company. Notably, each bus's body was procured at a cost of INR 26 lakhs.

Notably, The Bureau has raised concerns about potential hefty commissions involved in this procurement. While the purchase price of the body aligns with market rates, the absence of any bulk purchase discounts from the manufacturer has raised suspicions of substantial commissions being paid for each chassis.

Furthermore, the body fitting of all 841 buses was assigned to BMMS of Jaipur, at a cost of INR 11.98 lakhs per body. At the same time, local body fitting companies in Punjab were offering significantly lower rates for similar work. Vigilance has unearthed that during Raja Warring's tenure as Transport Minister, semi-deluxe bus body fitting was accomplished for INR 6-7 lakhs, while body fitting for normal buses was performed at INR 4-5 lakhs in Punjab.

Despite these options, the decision to pay INR 11.98 lakhs per body to a Rajasthan-based company has incurred an estimated loss of around INR 100 crore to the Punjab transport department. Additionally, Raja Warring has faced accusations of issuing a substantial number of route permits to private operators and associates during his tenure as Transport Minister. This aspect of his tenure is also subject to investigation by the Vigilance Bureau, which has requested detailed records of permits issued during Raja Waring's time in office.