India Lokpal Orders Inquiry Against Badals

Jan 1, 2010
‘Illegal’ plying of buses
Lokpal orders inquiry against Badals
Naveen S Garewal/TNS
Chandigarh, September 15
Punjab Lokpal Justice DS Dhaliwal (retd) today ordered an inquiry into the complaint pertaining to the alleged “illegal” plying of air-conditioned buses by the family of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on 73 routes.

The Lokpal, after taking into account the preliminary evidence in a case filed under the Punjab Lokpal Act 1966, directed the IG (Lokpal) to submit a report by November 1.
The petition was filed on September 2 by one Arvind Thakur against the Chief Minister by name, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Transport Secretary DS Jaspal.
Arguing the case before the court, the petitioner said that the Chief Minister and his family members had used their authority to circumvent procedure by securing a notification that allowed air-conditioned buses running from various points in Punjab to enter Chandigarh, thereby denying the UT Administration a huge amount of revenue in permit tax.
Giving the background of the case to The Tribune, the complainant said that nearly 150 buses enter Chandigarh from Punjab daily without the requisite permission required under Section 100 of the Motor Vehicle Act and the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966. The petition says that on September 9, 2007, Badal wrote a confidential letter to the then Punjab Governor General SF Rodrigues (retd) asking him to allow buses from Punjab to ply on 73 routes and terminate at Chandigarh. The same was granted.
At a time when the then UT Home Secretary Krishan Mohan had relinquished charge and the new incumbent Ram Niwas was yet to take over, the Badals ‘manipulated’ to get the then Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar officiate as the UT Transport Secretary and made him issue a notification regularising the plying of buses into Chandigarh.
The complainant then approached the Special Vigilance Court at Chandigarh and got an observation that the notification was done in haste. The case was then made before the CBI which found that no permission was sought from the Government of India.
After going through the details of the argument, the Punjab Lokpal ordered that an inquiry be conducted and its report be submitted in a time-bound manner.
Rajneesh Madhok

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