SIT to probe ‘misuse’ of funds meant for lawyers’ chambers; Are these allegations inspired by politics?
Superintendent of Police (SP) Jashandeep Singh Randhawa has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the charges of embezzlement of funds meant for the construction of lawyers’ chambers and money collected as subscription fees from advocates.
An FIR had recently been registered against District Bar Association president Lokender Phougat, alias Jojo, former president Deepak Kundu and four others on the basis of a complaint lodged by association general secretary Puneet Punia regarding the alleged embezzlement of funds and concealment of association records.
On delay in the registration of an FIR, the SP said that as per the Supreme Court guidelines, a preliminary investigation has to be carried out before registering an FIR in a case of cheating. He said now, an SIT led by DSP Ramesh had been constituted to investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, an FIR of physical assault and snatching of documents has also been registered against Punia, who claims to be the whistleblower in the case of alleged embezzlement. The association general secretary refuted the allegations as baseless and concocted.
Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Punia alleged that crores of rupees collected from lawyers as subscription fees and money donated by dignitaries visiting the Bar premises for the construction of chambers had been embezzled.
“An amount of Rs 9.66 crore was collected for the construction of lawyers’ chambers, but only Rs 4.5 crore was deposited in bank accounts maintained for the purpose,” he alleged.
The general secretary said there was no record of the subscription fees collected from the advocates for the past several years, which was also indicative of gross irregularities in the functioning of the association.
Punia alleged that as per his information, former president Kundu and his partner had bought property in Manesar or Sohna areas with the embezzled money. He also furnished an audio clipping in support of his claim.
On the other hand, Kundu has denied the allegations as false and politically motivated.