Updated: May 25, 2022 1:56:46 pm
Senior Congress leader Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa Tuesday asked Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to get Punjab Police to interrogate former CM Capt Amarinder Singh and then Congress ministers and MLAs he had accused of being involved in corrupt practices and illegal sand mining. Welcoming Mann’s decision to sack Health Minister Vijay Singla from the Cabinet over graft charges, and getting him booked and arrested shortly afterwards, Randhawa, a former deputy chief minister asked him to “expose” the former ministers before the public.
“I welcome the move by Bhagwant Mann to take action against Vijay Singla. But, Mann should get Captain Amarinder Singh and former Congress ministers and MLAs interrogated. Immediate action should be taken against all of them. Police should call Amarinder Singh and seek the list of former ministers and MLAs who he had said were involved in illegal practices,” said Randhawa while talking to The Indian Express.
Stating that there “should not be mere lip service” for the “sake of marketing and to defame a political party”, Randhawa added that the reference made by Mann should be taken to logical conclusion.
While announcing the removal of Singla from the Cabinet for allegedly seeking one per cent commission in tenders, Mann, in an apparent reference to Amarinder Singh, said “The Opposition parties will say that AAP’s minister was found involved in corruption within two months of forming the government. But I want to tell them that I have taken an action and the Opposition did not even know about it. Their chief ministers have been saying that they knew their ministers were engaging with the mafia. Then why didn’t they take any action against them? I have not only sacked my minister but also directed the police to take action against him. We will bring a change in the country”.
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Following his unceremonious exit as CM last year, Amarinder, in his resignation letter, had said he regretted not taking action against the Congress ministers and MLAs involved in illegal sand mining. He claimed that what held him back was the thought that it will embarrass the Congress. Amarinder had added that he did intend to make the list of such politicians public that had been provided to him by the bureaucracy and the state intelligence from time to time.
Amarinder was not available on phone for comments. He also did not reply to the text sent to him.
Randhawa said that apart from corruption, Mann should also focus on drugs issue and hold accountable the bureaucrats who were instrumental in getting power purchase agreement of electricity signed during the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-led regime and continued to hold significant positions in subsequent Congress government.
The Dera Baba Nanak MLA further said that with an “eye on upcoming assembly elections (in other state)”, the AAP government may take action against two to three other ministers.
Former state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, who recently switched over to the BJP, termed the decision to sack Singla as “a very bold and courageous” move on the part of Mann and AAP leadership. “However, there had been murmurs from the day one after AAP formed the government that something like this will take place sooner or later where the ruling party would try to turn its weakness into virtue. The reports of sting operation (on its own minister) appear corroborating that,” Jakhar said.
“There are more than 40 AAP MLAs who have a background which is nothing to be proud of. The AAP government has tried to give it a spin and project the action as zero tolerance towards corruption…,” he said adding the AAP is trying to kill two birds with one stone.
Meanwhile, Akali Dal spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema welcomed Mann’s decision but highlighted how “there are corruption charges on an AAP minister in two months of party forming the government” in state.
SAD vice president and former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said, “This is good thing. It would be better if he (Mann) continues with such practice.”
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