English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

AAP chief Kejriwal’s Canadian friend gets Punjab Govt job in brazen violation of law

Canadian citizen Baltej Pannu with AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal 

Chandigarh: The appointment of a Canadian citizen and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holder Baltej Pannu as Director, Media-Relations of Punjab has raked up a controversy.

OCI card holders as per conditions laid down by the Union Home Ministry are barred from taking up government jobs although they can work in the private sector.
Highly placed Punjab government sources reveal that Baltej Pannu is on the rolls of the Public Relations Department and is drawing a monthly salary of about Rs 1.5 lakh.

The closeness of Pannu with AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann is well known.

Pannu did not respond to a list of questions, sent to him on WhatsApp, including one about the violation of conditions applicable to an OCI card holder related to government employment.

Punjab Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Public Relations, Rahul Bhandari, did not respond to repeated messages asking for his official version on the issue.

Controversial FaceBook posts of Khalistanis openly supporting Pannu on his arrest in an alleged rape case in November 2015 too have surfaced. In foul language, many blacklisted separatists condemned India for having arrested an “international journalist” on the “false complaint” of one Nancy Ghuman working with Punjabi University, Patiala. Photographs of Pannu sharing the stage with separatists have been received by indianarrative.com from Canada.

Those who posted on FB included Ram Pal Singh Dhillon, Tarlochan Singh Manjh, Tejinder Singh (known to be close to Talwinder Singh Parmar accused in the Kanishka plane blast), and Sukhmandar Hansra (now dead). One of the protest rallies in Brampton held to support Pannu was also addressed by the then MPPJagmeet Singh, of the National Democratic Party (NDP).

Director, Media-Relations when asked to comment on his links with Khalistanis as evidenced by FaceBook posts and some other pictures, did not respond.

Nancy, a divorcee, alleged that Pannu feigned to be a divorcee too, proposing to marry her. But after sexually exploiting her for about 2 years, he refused to marry her.

Canadian sources disclose that Baltej Pannu declared bankruptcy in 2000 to evade repayment of loans and taxes. He was fined $90000 by a court in a defamation case filed by some members of the management committee of Rexdale Gurdwara. After being caught in a financial mess, he moved to his Patiala residence.

Pannu also ran into a controversy as a journalist and was taken off the air from two  radio programmes, one on 770 AM radio station and the second on Red FM radio station for baselessly naming three Punjabi businessmen in the DSP Jagdish Bhola drug scandal. Protests were organised in front of the offices of the radio stations. An impression was given at the time that the then-ruling Badal family in Punjab influenced radio station owners to act against Pannu.

The three businessmen had filed lawsuits against the radio stations claiming millions of dollars. The management of the radio stations then tendered unconditional apologies.

Pannu did not respond to the query about whether he wrongly named people for links with a drug cartel.