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Corruption: Punjab Police raid sacked minister Singla’s houses

Corruption: Punjab Police raid sacked minister Singla’s houses

Documents seized from former Punjab health minister Vijay Singla’s official residence in Chandigarh and house in Mansa

A day after taking former Punjab health minister Dr Vijay Singla’s remand in a corruption case, the Mohali police on Wednesday collected some files from his official residence in Sector 39, Chandigarh, besides sending his mobile phone to a laboratory to retrieve all deleted chats.

The probe team has also procured the sacked minister’s call details of the past two months, following which he was extensively questioned, said officials privy to the development. He was also quizzed in front of his officer on special duty (OSD) Pardeep Kumar, who was acting as the middleman while seeking kickbacks from an official and was arrested along with the minister.

Pardeep, a Bathinda resident, is the son of Singla’s cousin sister and was seen next to the minister ever since he was sworn in.

Singla and Pardeep were arrested on Tuesday from outside chief minister Bhagwant Mann’s official residence in Chandigarh on the charges of demanding 1% commission in government contracts from a superintending engineer posted in Punjab Health System Corporation.

After the SE reported the matter to the CM through some IAS officers in the health department, Singla was summoned by Mann and was confronted with an audio recording. According to Mann, Singla had admitted that it was his voice in the audio. After sacking him, the CM ordered an FIR against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

‘Denied charges’

During questioning, the minister is learnt to have denied giving any favours to civil contractors who were engaged by the department to repair government hospitals. The minister, police sources said, also told the probe team that he had not allotted any contract and didn’t order transfers or postings after taking charge of the ministry.

The police team will analyse all decisions taken by Singla to find out the charges of favouritism and corruption.

Apart from Singla’s official residence, police also conducted raids at his house in his home town Mansa and seized some documents. Raids are also being conducted at the house of his relatives and friends, said police. Singla and his OSD are in police remand till May 27.

What FIR states

In the FIR, the complainant, Rajinder Singh, stated that Pardeep Kumar asked him to give 2% as commission, i.e. 1.16 crores, from the total amount of 58 crores, which included 41 crores as allotment of construction works and 17 crores as payments to contractors.

When the official pleaded against it, the OSD allegedly threatened to destroy his career. Later on May 20, the OSD again asked him to give 10 lakh as settlement money and 1% as commission from all projects to the minister in future. To save himself from mental harassment, Rajinder Singh offered 5 lakh, stated the FIR.

On May 23, the OSD called the complainant to the secretariat to meet him and the minister and hand over the money. It was then that the official recorded the conversation and handed over the audio clip to his seniors, which then reached the CM.

©Hindustan Times

Also Read : Sacked Punjab Health Ministers family alleges conspiracy vows to fight back

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