The SAD on Wednesday demanded sacking of Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi immediately after the Public Works Department moved a recovery suit against the minister for “defrauding the State by pocketing double compensation for a piece of family land”.
In a statement here, Akali leader and former minister Maheshinder Singh Grewal said “the sports minister’s position had become untenable after the PWD department moved a recovery suit against him”.
He said it had been “revealed that Rana Sodhi and his family members cheated the State by taking compensation twice for the same piece of land in 1962 and then again in 2013”. He said it was pertinent to note that the PWD department had revealed that a compensation of Rs 1.83 crore had been awarded to the minister and his family after they approached the court and obtained a verdict in their favour by concealing the facts of the case.
Stating that “this amounted to criminality on the part of Rana Sodhi and his family members”, Grewal said due cases relating to cheating and forgery should be registered against all of them. He said “simultaneously the chief minister should not let his friendship with Rana Sodhi come in the way of performing his official duties and should sack the minister immediately besides ordering a free and fair inquiry into the entire matter”.
“Already the chief minister has given the Sodhi family a long rope,” Grewal said, adding that the fraud was unearthed more than six months ago. The government even formed a sub-committee headed by a special secretary to probe the case and it indicted the minister and his kin for pocketing double compensation. The committee also noted that the entire case smacked of corruption. “Now that PWD department has moved the court and filed a recovery suit against the Sodhi family besides demanding criminal proceedings be launched against them. What is the chief minister waiting for? Does he believe his own government department or not?” Grewal asked.
Grewal also asked the sports minister to put in his papers immediately, saying he had “lost the moral right to remain in office”. He said it was astonishing that Rana Sodhi had virtually admitted his duplicity in the criminal activity by refusing to defend himself.
Grewal added, “Now the sports minister has let out another gas balloon by saying Punjab government officials were resorting to a witchhunt against him. If this is true why hasn’t Rana Sodhi lodged a formal complaint against the government officials? The truth is that Rana Sodhi knows that he has committed an illegality and is now buying time and relying on his friend Captain Amarinder Singh to keep him in office. This is a new low in Punjab politics. The SAD will expose this nexus and ensure justice is done in the case.”
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