June 19, 2021 9:28:37 am
THE PUNJAB Cabinet on Friday approved the appointments of sons of two MLAs in the government on “compassionate grounds”, even as five ministers vociferously protested against the same.
Cabinet Ministers Razia Sultana, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjeet Singh Channi, and Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa staunchly opposed the decision during the meeting, stating that the two had assets worth crores and did not need these jobs.
The Cabinet cleared the appointments of Arjun Partap Singh Bajwa, son of Qadian MLA Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa, as inspector (Group B) in Punjab Police, and Bhisham Pandey, son of Ludhiana MLA Rakesh Pandey, as Naib Tehsildar.
Both will be appointed as Inspector and Naib Tehsildar respectively as special cases on compassionate grounds, 34 years after their respective grandfathers were killed. Arjun is the grandson of ex-Punjab minister Satnam Singh Bajwa, who, according to a government statement, laid down his life in 1987 for the sake of peace and harmony in the state.
He has been given appointment by allowing one-time waiver/relaxation in the rules, without making it a precedent.
Bhisham — grandson of Joginder Pal Pandey, who was gunned down by terrorists in 1987 — was appointed as Naib Tehsildar (Group-B) in the revenue department. His has also been treated as a special case, a one-time relaxation in the policy of compassionate appointments, 2002. However, it will not be treated as a precedent.
Both Fateh Bajwa and Rakesh Pandey were siding with the rebel group of MLAs till a few days ago.
As soon as the agenda item was taken up, Razia Sultana is learnt to have protester and stated that her son should also be appointed in the government as her husband, Mohammad Mustafa, a retired IPS officer, had fought terrorism in state valiantly but escaped the terrorists bravely. She is also learnt to have cited some couplets in the meeting to protest against the government decision.
Sarkaria is learnt to have said that Bajwa had declared property worth Rs 33 crore in his affidavit, and asked why Bajwa’s son was being appointed when the family was not in need of a job.
Randhawa is learnt to have told the Cabinet that the FIR registered after the killing of Fateh Bajwa’s father in 1987 should be checked, lest it may leave the government embarrassed.
Tript Bajwa, according to sources, said that Arjun drove a car worth Rs 5 crore, and mocked that he (Arjun) would be going to a police station in an expensive car.
Channi is learnt to have said that late Beant Singh was a national martyr. Having his grandson appointed in police was a different case. It could not be likened to Bajwa’s case.
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, sources said, remarked that these were “petty” things and the appointments should be allowed. The ministers also demanded that if the government was making a special case of the two MLAs’ sons, they should let it be a precedent that any martyr’s grandchildren should be allowed to be appointed after 34 years.
The appointments have been approved despite departmental secretaries objecting on grounds that these were very old cases, the families were well to do and did not need really jobs.
CM’s letter and reference about Bajwa’s father
Interestingly, Amarinder had in a letter to Sonia Gandhi in July 2013, a copy of which was printed by the media, stated that “Bajwa’s father Satnam Singh Bajwa, a former Congress minister, was not killed by terrorists but in an inter-gang rivalry of smugglers in 1987”.
At the time, Amarinder had waged a war of sorts against Partap Bajwa, brother of Fateh Jung Bajwa, in 2013. Bajwa was appointed PPCC chief, replacing Amarinder. In a complete reversal of his stand, Amarinder on Friday was quoted in the government statement as saying: “Noting the sacrifice of their families, the children/grandchildren of such people would continue to be considered by his government for compensatory appointment on case to case basis.”
The government statement also said: “Satnam Singh Bajwa had laid his life in 1987 for the sake of peace and harmony in the state.”
Congress insiders claim that Bajwa and Amarinder are secretly on a mission to bury their hatchet to keep party colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu out of power amid reports that Sidhu could be named PPCC chief. Bajwa on Friday addressed a press conference to deny the reports strongly. It is however learnt that Bajwa has sought removal of advocate general from the government and also a ticket for himself from Batala, a constituency which already has two claimants including Tript Bajwa and Ashwini Sekhri, a former MLA from Batala.
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