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OSD to CM sole candidate for post of Information Commissioner, LoP objects

Sekhon was learnt to be the only candidate whose name came up for discussion at a selection committee meeting in which the Leader of Opposition was present along with the Chief Minister and Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana KP Singh.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
March 13, 2021 10:31:32 pm
Harpal Singh Cheema, Capt Amarinder Singh, Preneet Kaur, punjab news, chandigarh news, indian express“Capt Amarinder Singh has been working day and night to save those whose names are included in the report sent by the mining department," Harpal Singh Cheema alleged. (Express Photo)

The Punjab Leader of Opposition, Harpal Singh Cheema, has put up a dissenting note on the selection of Amrit Partap Singh Sekhon alias Honey Sekhon, a personal secretary to Patiala MP Preneet Kaur and OSD to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, as an Information Commissioner of the state.

Sekhon was learnt to be the only candidate whose name came up for discussion at a selection committee meeting in which the Leader of Opposition was present along with the Chief Minister and Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana KP Singh.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Cheema confirmed that he had put up a dissenting note on the proposed selection of Sekhon. “At the meeting I raised the point that only one name had been put up for selection for a vacant post of Information Commissioner. This is hardly a correct way to go about selecting a candidate. Where is the question of selection when only one name is put up? I demanded that other suitable candidates who have applied should also be considered,” Cheema said.

Cheema added that he had learnt that the person whose name was considered at the meeting, Amrit Partap Singh Sekhon, was also the personal secretary of Patiala MP Preneet Kaur. “It was a physical meeting which took place and apart from me CM and Vidhan Sabha Speaker were also present,’ he said.

When contacted, Sekhon admitted that he was personal secretary to the Patiala MP and OSD to CM but added that he will have to check the records before he could say anything about his application for Information Commissioner.

“I do not have anything to say about what the Leader of Opposition may have said at the meeting. I have no comments to offer,” he said.

In October 2020, Anumeet Singh Sidhu, son of Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Sodhi, was appointed as the Information Commissioner amidst an outcry of nepotism in these appointments. At that time the Leader of Opposition had also drawn fire for not opposing the name when it came up for consideration at the selection meeting.

The present vacancy in the State Information Commission has come up with the resignation of Dr Pawan Kumar Singla who resigned in January, a month before he was due to retire from the commission.

Among those who have been recently appointed to the State Information Commission are Maninder Singh Patti, who is said to be a close aide of Cabinet Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria. His appointment was preceded with that of Lt Gen Ajae Kumar Sharma (retd). Lt Gen Sharma belongs to the Sikh Regiment and has served in 2 Sikh, the same battalion in which Capt Amarinder served when he was in the Army.

Other appointees during the present Congress regime include Sanjiv Garg, a former Congress leader from Patiala, Khushwant Singh, an author who penned a biography of Capt Amarinder Singh, and Asit Jolly, a senior journalist.

Three more vacancies in the State Information Commission will come up this year before the term of the present government runs out. Preety Chawla will retire in September while Heminder Singh and Avtar Singh Kaler will retire in December.

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