Raids at multiple locations in Delhi, Chandigarh, and Uttarakhand are underway by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged forest scam case linked to Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat, sources said on February 5.
During Rawat’s tenure as the State Forest Minister, Rawat and some of his departmental officers came under serious allegations related to their involvement in illegal tree cutting and construction in the Pakhro range of Corbett Park under the Tiger Safari Project.
The Forest Survey of India (FSI) claimed in its report that more than 6,000 trees were illegally cut in the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) against the permission of 163 for the Pakhru tiger safari. However, the State forest department refuted the FSI’s claims and said that some technical issues needed to be resolved before finally accepting the report.
This, however, isn’t the first time that properties linked to Rawat have come under scrutiny by the ED officials, as earlier, the Uttarakhand Vigilance Team had raided an institute in Dehradun’s Shankarpur and a petrol pump in Chhiddarwala linked to him.
State Vigilance Chief V Murugesan said on August 30 that after the team examined the documents at both places, it was found that both properties belong to Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat. Speaking to media, Murugesan said that the vigilance team found that two generator sets installed at both private places were purchased with Government money. Further investigation into the matter is underway, the vigilance chief said.
Murugesan confirmed that both the Doon Institute of Medical Sciences in Shankarpur and the petrol pump, which were raided by the team on February 7, belong to Rawat’s son. On being asked whether Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat had any connection with the case of misuse of Government funds, the vigilance chief did not confirm anything and said that the investigation into the case is underway and all the details related to the matter will be revealed after the investigation process is over.
The latest vigilance operation against the properties of Harak Singh Rawat has been ordered by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.
(with inputs from ANI)