The Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Tuesday issued a lookout circular against Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manpreet Singh Badal in connection with a cheating and forgery case, PTI reported.

The development came a day after the vigilance department carried out searches at Badal’s home in Bathinda.

Badal, who joined the BJP in January after quitting Congress, is among the five persons accused of cheating and forgery in the purchase of a property in Bathinda.

The other accused in the case are former Bathinda Development Authority chief administrator Bikramjit Shergill, Rajiv Kumar, Amandeep Singh, Vikas Arora and Pankaj.

Kumar, Singh and Arora have already been arrested by the police.

The vigilance department has alleged that Badal abused his position as finance minister in the previous Congress government in Punjab to purchase two plots of land of 1,560 square yards in Model Town phase-1 Bathinda, causing a financial loss of lakhs to the state exchequer, according to PTI.

He allegedly colluded with officials of the Bathinda Development Authority to make fraudulent bids for the two plots of land in 2021.

The investigation in the case was launched on a complaint filed by former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Sarup Chand Singla’s complaint in 2021, according to The Indian Express.

Badal was booked under Sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and 13(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, in addition to the Information Technology Act.

On Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that those who used to boast about honesty are now running to save their skin, according to The Indian Express.

“There is a huge difference between speaking the truth and standing by it,” Mann said in a statement. “These hypocrites always befooled people with their flowery language.”