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Punjab govt orders probe into Vidhan Sabha recruitment scam

Punjab govt orders probe into Vidhan Sabha recruitment scam

Sources said the entire record of recruitment made during the past five years in the Vidhan Sabha was being examined “at the highest level”

Can you imagine a cook at your home getting a salary of Rs 50,000 per month? Well, if you are the niece of the deputy speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, you can! And what is interesting is that you get to be employed at your uncle’s residence! Later, she was “adjusted” as a clerk in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

This is exactly what has allegedly happened in Punjab in the past five years. The above-cited curious case of Sumanpreet Kaur and her uncle, former deputy speaker Ajaib Singh Bhatti, is not the only one. As the Punjab government ordered a probe into the recruitment of 154 people in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in the past five years of the Congress rule, the list of “under investigation” employees is a telling tale of the state of affairs.

The issue had earlier been highlighted by the Aam Aadmi Party in the run-up to the assembly polls. Today, Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan, who has ordered the high-level probe in the matter, said he had received a complaint from the Minister for Tourism, Mines and Geology Harjot Singh Bains. “Any illegality in the recruitment will be looked into and action taken,” he said.

The complaint, a copy of which is with The Tribune, alleges that maximum people were recruited on the recommendation of former Speaker Rana KP Singh, including his niece Ruchi Rana, who was appointed a clerk.  Other ministers and even the Vidhan Sabha staff were not behind in recommending people for jobs and getting them employed in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The complaint mentions the name of former Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal; former secretary Shashi Lakhpal Misra; Ram Lok, secretary to Speaker; former MLAs, including some who were not elected to the previous 15th Vidhan Sabha. The name of recently appointed PCC chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring also featured in the complaint for getting a clerk appointed in the Vidhan Sabha.

A former Congress MP from Chandigarh, Pawan Bansal, too, is alleged to have got his favourite a job in the Vidhan Sabha, while sitting Congress MP Manish Tiwari “secured” a job for his driver’s daughter.

The complaint says some of these recruits, though appointed in the Vidhan Sabha, unofficially continued to work with their “benefactors”. They have cited the case of Ajay Kumar (recruited as a clerk) from Bathinda, who allegedly did not come to the Vidhan Sabha and continued to work for Manpreet Badal.

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