The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at 26 locations across seven districts of Punjab on Wednesday in a money laundering case linked to an alleged multi-crore guava orchard compensation scam.
The places being raided by the agency included the residence of Firozpur Deputy Commissioner Rajesh Dhiman. The raids are being carried out under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The federal agency registered the case, taking cognizance of a Punjab Vigilance Bureau First Information Report (FIR) pertaining to alleged embezzlement of nearly Rs 137 crore released as compensation for guava orchards on land acquired by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA).

Sources indicated that the residences of certain senior government officials and private individuals are under investigation.
According to reports, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau has apprehended several individuals, including officials from the horticulture department, in connection with this matter.
Last year, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau exposed the scam amounting to Rs 137 crore and has apprehended 33 individuals thus far. The fraudulent activities primarily occurred in Barakpur village, where the Enforcement Directorate initiated raids, revealing collusion among officials from the horticulture and revenue departments, the GMADA, and private entities.
Around 2016-17, individuals associated with the government and GMADA officers reportedly possessed foreknowledge of impending land acquisitions. Allegedly, they strategically purchased land and extensively planted guava trees to inflate compensation amounts. By purportedly manipulating records to indicate tree planting in 2016 instead of the actual 2018 timeline, they allegedly facilitated the illicit extraction of crores in compensation, according to the case details.
One Bhupinder Singh is accused of receiving compensation by planting guava trees on agricultural land acquired by GMADA for development purposes. Allegedly, he colluded with officials from the horticulture department to falsify records and secure compensation. The ED team is seeking access to the case records to trace the flow of funds. (ANI)