The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it has attached assets worth Rs 37 crore in connection with its money laundering probe into the Hoshiarpur land acquisition scam in Punjab.
It said a provisional order for attachment of 54 vacant lands and three business and residential premises each was issued by its Jalandhar office under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The case against several private persons and government officials pertains to alleged irregularities in the acquisition of land by the state government in Hoshiarpur district.
The Punjab vigilance bureau had filed a criminal FIR in this regard last year. The ED took cognisance of it to file its separate complaint under the PMLA.
The ED said its investigation revealed that criminality in this case occurred mainly on two counts: sale and purchase of the land by private persons in the notified area was allowed which otherwise was prohibited after the issuance of the notification by the government to acquire the land.
Also, the agency claimed, private parties were paid "undue and excess compensation" by the competent authority for land acquisition against taking over of land on residential rates despite the fact that the type of land mentioned in the notifications was agricultural.
"In this manner, the private parties got undue and excess compensation which together amounted to Rs 37 crore. Out of the compensation amount received, the accused utilised some part for repayment of their loans and rest of the funds were diverted to their business concerns which were further utilised for repayment to creditors and other business expenses," it said.