Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today evening accepted the resignation of Sohan Singh Thandal,Chief Parliamentary Secretary in his government who was convicted by a special court yesterday on charges of misconduct,corruption and amassing assets beyond his means.
Thandal who was CPS (Agriculture) reportedly resigned under pressure from senior party leaders. In the evening,Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Spokesman Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema confirmed that Thandal had resigned and stated that his resignation was accepted by the CM. However,earlier in the day,Cheema and SAD President and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal had also declined to comment on this issue.
The case against Thandal was registered by the Vigilance Bureau during the previous Congress government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh more than eight years ago. A Cabinet minister in the SAD government of 1997-2002,he was accused of amassing money and property by corrupt means.
Insiders say the SAD leadership are divided on the Thandal case,with some of the view that he should have resigned immediately after his conviction on Monday,keeping in view the party image in an election year. However,another group feels that Thandal should have first appealed against his conviction and awaited the judgement,as such charges are politically motivated.
The opposition Congress struck a cautious note,with Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President and Former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh saying,It is a judicial decision and we welcome it.
Congress MLA Sukhpal Khaira sounded more belligerent,demanding immediate dismissal of Thandal from the government and his suspension from primary membership of Akali Dal.
After Thandals resignation today,two posts of chief parliamentary secretaries are now vacant in the Punjab government.