Bhagwant Mann sacks Health Minister, gets him arrested
Punjab Health Minister Vijay Singla was sacked from the state Cabinet on Tuesday and arrested on corruption charges with Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann asserting that his government has zero-tolerance towards corruption.
Chandigarh: Punjab Health Minister Vijay Singla was sacked from the state Cabinet on Tuesday and arrested on corruption charges with Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann asserting that his government has zero-tolerance towards corruption.
He was later arrested. The Aam Aadmi Party has been in power in Punjab for barely two months. The chief minister himself announced the removal of Singla from the council of ministers.
Mann said the decision was made after he came to know that Singla was allegedly demanding one per cent commission in tenders and purchases of his department.
On March 23, days after he was sworn in as Health Minister in the Bhagwant Mann-led Cabinet, Vijay Singla, 52, held a meeting of health officials in Chandigarh, where he said the government would have zero tolerance for corruption.
"A case was brought to my notice in which one minister in my government was demanding one per cent commission from each tender or purchase of his department. I took this case very seriously. Only I knew this case. Neither media nor opposition knew it," Mann said in a video message.
"I am taking strict action against that minister and I am removing him from the cabinet. I am also giving directions to the police to register a case against him," he said, adding, "That minister's name is Vijay Singla. He was the health minister."
Asserting that the AAP government has zero-tolerance towards corruption, Mann pointed out that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also removed his food and supplies minister in 2015 and handed over the case to the CBI.
"I will not tolerate corruption of a single rupee. We want to turn Punjab into a corruption-free state" Mann asserted.
Senior BJP leader and party's national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia, however, rebuffed the words of the AAP's leader saying that corruption in Punjab government has rather brought tears to the eyes of the people in the state. He further took a jab at the newly formed government and said that when a corrupt Congress government left (Punjab), a mega-corrupt government came into Punjab.
The Aam Aadmi Party had bagged 92 of the 117 seats in Punjab, decimating the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bahujan Samaj Party combine, and the BJP-Punjab Lok Congress-SAD (Sanyukt) alliance in the 2022 state assembly polls.