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Badal Chum Speaker Of Punjab Assembly Took Bribes, Says CBI

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
source: http://worldsikhnews.com/16%20December%202009/Badal%20chum%20Speaker%20of%20Punjab%20Assembly%20took%20bribes%20says%20CBI.

Badal chum Speaker of Punjab Assembly
took bribes, says CBI

But Akali govt refuses to permit prosecution of Nirmal Singh Kahlon in a court

WSN Network


CHANDIGARH: In a scathing revelation, Punjab CM Prakash Singh badal's much tattered image received a further jolt when media reports exposed how the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has indicted his hand-picked choice for Punjab Assembly Speaker and a close associate, Nirmal Singh Kahlon, in a "cash-for-job scandal" that took place between 1996 and 2001.

The CBI, after a long drawn investigation into the illegalities and irregularities involved in the selection of 909 panchayat secretaries during Kahlon's tenure as rural development and panchayat minister during the said period, deduced that Kahlon and two IAS officers were among 15 people guilty of wrong doing.

In its 54-page damning report, the sleuths nailed Kahlon, IAS officers Mandeep Singh (then director of rural development and panchayat department) and J.S. Kesar (then financial commissioner, rural development, and since retired) -- by establishing that the "selection was made against payments". Kahlon could have got 50 per cent of the "at least" Rs 4 crore collected in bribes by department officials responsible for the selection process, the CBI said.

However, nine months after the CBI wrote to the Punjab government (vide letter No.
728/3/8(S)/2003/SCR III/ND, dated March 3, 2009) seeking sanction to prosecute Kahlon for corruption charges, the SADBJP dispensation is yet to take a final decision on the issue. As a result, the CBI's move to file a chargesheet in the Special Court at Patiala has not fructified. Now, it seems the Punjab Government has decided not to accord sanction but critics said it will only further blacken the face of the government.

<TABLE style="BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px" id=AutoNumber19 border=1 cellSpacing=0 borderColor=#111111 cellPadding=10 width="42%" align=left><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none" bgColor=#e2f1f1 width="89%">Nirmal Singh Kahlon could have got 50 per cent of the Rs 4 crore collected in bribes by department officials responsible for the selection process.

</TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none" width="11%"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
The Hindustan Times which first reported the matter on its front page in its Chandigarh edition last week, quoted the report as saying that "Sufficient evidence is there to show the commission of offences on the part of Mr Kahlon and others punishable under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 468, 471 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act."

The CBI later confirmed that it has indeed asked for prosecution sanctions in respect of Nirmal Singh Kahlon but Kahlon has remained mum and offered a lame defence saying "only the government would know about it."

The scandal relates to the recruitment of 909 panchayat secretaries during the previous tenure of the SAD-BJP Government (1996-2001) by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had, in 2003, ordered a CBI inquiry into the scam.

The case was registered on a complaint from the director, rural development and panchayats, to the CBI director. It was alleged that Kahlon along with chairmen and members of the four selection committees forged records related to the selections and indulged in corruption in the selection process, causing undue favour to certain candidates by abusing their official positions.

The CBI inquiry draws substantially upon revelations made by Joginder Singh, then deputy director and also chairman of one of the section committees, who turned whistleblower-approver in the case. In his confessional statement recorded under Section 164 of Cr.PC before a magistrate, he said Kahlon had issued instructions to all chairmen (of selection panels) that "only those candidates are to be selected by them whose numbers would be conveyed by his (minister's) private secretary Vikas Sharma and Mandeep Singh".

Though the CBI has pointed out as many as 15 irregularities in the selection process, it found that chairmen of selection panels collected money ranging from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh from reserved category candidates and between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 3.5 lakh from general candidates, depending on their paying capacity.

16 December 2009