In a major embarrassment, the BJP Saturday inducted a retired IAS officer in the party fold in the presence of senior leaders before dropping him hours later after being questioned about the new inductee’s tainted past.
As part of its ongoing membership drive, state party president Shawait Malik in the presence of Union Minister Som Parkash and other senior leaders, inducted retired IAS officer Dr Swaran Singh into the party. Later, when media questioned the BJP leaders about the alleged tainted past of the officer, the party cancelled his membership.
Swaran Singh, who also remained commissioner of Jalandhar Division and chairman of Punjab Arts Council (PAsC), was booked along with three others of two private companies for alleged embezzlement of Rs 1 crore while organizing function to mark birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in 2008 at his native village Khattkar Kalan. The case was registered in March 2011 in Jalandhar under sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 B of IPC and sections 13 (1) d 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Swaran Singh had surrendered in a court in Nawanshar in May 2012 when he could not get the bail in the case and was remanded in judicial custody. He was also summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which also got his property attached in Amritsar.
Later, he made an abortive bid to secure Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket to contest Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar in 2014.
Both Swaran Singh and Malik could not be reached for comments.
District BJP president Raman Pubby confirmed that Swaran Singh had joined the party but the membership was cancelled on the directions of state president. He said that membership was yet to be issued to Swaran Singh.