Congress for Badal’s Dis­missal, AAP Wants SC-Mon­i­tored SIT

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Vi­nay.Sharma2@ times­group.com

Chandi­garh: Just eight months ahead of assem­bly polls and in the mid­dle of the pro­cure­ment sea­son, the Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal-led Pun­jab gov­tern­ment found it­self on the back­foot af­ter ET re­ported that banks would have to make a pro­vi­sion of .₹ 12000 crore af­ter it emerged that food­grans bought with bank funds ap­peared to have dis­ap­peared from godowns.

The is­sue snow­balled into a ma­jor con­tro­versy on Fri­day with both Congress and Aam Admi Party de­mand­ing an in­quiry by a sit­ting Supreme Court judge into the mat­ter.

An out­come of the meet­ing on April 18 called by State Bank of In­dia is likely to de­cide the fate of Pun­jabi farm­ers. In case the banks de­clare the loan by Pun­jab govern­ment as a bad debt, the state food and sup­plies de­part­ment, re­spon­si­ble for the pro­cure­ment, will not be pro­vided with funds any longer. This will push the bank­rupt state with a debt bur­den of .₹ 1.25 lakh crore fur­ther into obliv­ion. Aam Aadmi Party has de­manded a probe by a sit­ting Supreme Court judge into the scan­dal. AAP na­tional spokesman and in-charge Pun­jab party af­fairs San­jay Singh, Sangrur MP Bhag­want Mann and se­nior leader Chan­der Suta Do­gra in a joint state­ment de­manded an im­me­di­ate in­quiry.

San­jay Singh while re­fer­ring to the ET re­port, said the govern­ment must come clean on how the food stocks were si­phoned off.

“SIT should also go into the role of the Badal govern­ment, BJP led cen­tral govern­ment and the banks, who were all aware of the miss­ing food stocks but made no ef­fort to re­solve the is­sue or res­cue the sit­u­a­tion. Our big­gest worry is that if the Badal govern­ment has failed to pay the loan to the banks how will it pay the Pun­jab farm­ers for their wheat crop whose pro­cure­ment has al­ready be­gun in the state,” said Bhag­want Mann. Pun­jab Pradesh Congress Com­mit­tee pres­i­dent Capt. Amarinder said the rev­e­la­tions may just be the prover­bial tip of an ice­berg as the AkaliBJP govern­ment has sur­vived only on de­ceit and fraud dur­ing the last nine year.

“It is a fit case for the dis­missal as this govern­ment has bla­tantly cheated and de­frauded not only the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions but also the farm­ers for whom this money was ac­tu­ally meant,” the PCC pres­i­dent said in a state­ment here on Fri­day.

The for­mer chief min­is­ter said he has al­ways main­tained that the govern­ment headed by chief min­is­ter Parkash Singh Badal has been play­ing fraud with every­body and now it has been re­vealed that they have even cheated the banks.

“Ear­lier, we used to think that this money was be­ing mainly squan­dered in San­gat Dar­shans, but now it seems to have been em­bez­zled and mis­ap­pro­pri­ated as well,” he re­marked, while de­mand­ing a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter af­ter the dis­missal of the govern­ment.

Food min­is­ter Ram Vi­las Paswan will be vis­it­ing Ra­jpur in Pun­jab to see wheat pro­cure­ment oper­a­tions on Mon­day. The min­is­ter who is trav­el­ling to north east­ern states was not avail­able for com­ments.

How­ever, govern­ment of­fi­cials in the min­istry said, “this is a mat­ter of ac­counts rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and that they are look­ing into the is­sue. ”

Food Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia of­fi­cials said on Mon­day, the min­is­ter might hold a meet­ing with of­fi­cials in Chandi­garh to dis­cuss on the is­sue.

In case the banks de­clare the loan by Pun­jab govt as bad debt, the state food and sup­plies de­part­ment will not be pro­vided with funds any longer

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