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Punjab Foodgrain Scam: After Ashu’s Arrest, Ex-FM Manpreet Badal Faces Probe

The probe is being carried out based on a complaint made against Badal by former Bathinda (Urban) legislator Sarup Chand Singla.

Manpreet Singh Badal
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal attends the pre-budget consultation meeting chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman, at Vigyan Bhawan, in New Delhi on Dec 30, 2021. (ANI Photo)

Chandigarh: After former food and civil supplies minister of Punjab Bharat Bhushan Ashu’s arrest, Punjab Vigilance Bureau is likely to probe the involvement of Manpreet Singh Badal in alleged favouritism and corruption to help his aides get contracts in the allotment of foodgrain transportation tenders at anaj mandis in Bathinda. The allotment of contracts took place during the previous Congress regime.

The probe is being carried out based on a complaint made against Badal by former Bathinda (Urban) legislator Sarup Chand Singla.

Singla said, “On the lines of the corruption that happen in the allotment of tenders for transportation and labour in anaj mandis elsewhere, corruption and favoritism happened here as well. And, I have submitted a complaint to DSP Sandeep Singh.”

When contacted, DSP Sandeep Singh said, “I cannot say anything on this issue.”

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However, those in the know of things said that though Singla submitted a complaint, he did not provide any evidence with the complaint.

Sources said the Vigilance Bureau will now reach out to the district food and civil supplies authorities in the coming week to seize the records about the contractors and vehicles used to transport the foodgrains.

Allegations against Badal by Singla are that the use of non-commercial vehicles was made in transporting foodgrain from anaj mandis and they were shown as trucks meant to transport foodgrains. And this needs to be investigated.

Through the complaint, Singla has also alleged that Manpreet had favoured a private transport company in getting contracts for food grain transportation works. “The private company is owned by the driver of Manpreet Badal’s brother-in-law. Also, a Punjab police constable, who was among the security personnel provided to Manpreet’s family, was involved in the scam,” alleged the BJP leader.

Sarup Chand Singla and Manpreet Singh Badal have been at loggerheads for the last many years. In March this year, Singla quit Akali Dal along with his supporters after facing a humiliating defeat. Singla had accused senior SAD leaders, particularly Sukhbir Singh Badal of sabotaging his chances of getting elected by helping his cousin Manpreet. However, Manpreet too lost the elections. Now Singla has joined the BJP.

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