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Amarinder says Sonia Gandhi did not allow him to sack corrupt ministers in Punjab cabinet

Former Punjab Chief Minister and Punjab Lok Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh.

Former Punjab Chief Minister and Punjab Lok Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh has put the corruption issue in AICC president Sonia Gandhi's court, saying she did not allow him to sack . Charanjit Singh Channi and seven other ministers for their involvement in illegal sand mining in 2018.

Amarinder said, "Sonia did not allow me to take action as the number of ministers and MLAs involved in illegal mining was large." Had action been taken in 2018 things would have been different for the party and the state, he added.

Sources disclosed that several local politicians of Ropar district including a sarpanch considered close to Channi were indulging in illegal mining in the Satluj river. Apart from his nephew Bhupinder Singh alias Honey,  many other relatives of Channi are also alleged to have made big money in the illegal business in the last about 5 years of Congress rule.

In 2018, Captain Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister had conducted a surprise arial survey and found large-scale mining being done at various sites in the state. As many as 12 FIRs were registered in this connection following which names of Ministers and MLAs surfaced but the party high command read Sonia Gandhi did not support any action against them.

In a recent raid on the residence of Honey, a nephew of Channi, Enforcement Directorate had recovered unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 10 crore, gold ornaments worth Rs 21 lakh, and a Rolex watch priced at Rs 12 lakh besides dubious transactions of Rs 68 crore. Honey was named in an FIR registered by Rahon police in 2018 pertaining to a case of illegal mining which was taken over by the ED.

Channi on the other hand maintains that the ED raid is an act of vendetta by the opposition to malign him and the Congress. He calls it a conspiracy of the elite against him.

In yet another revelation, Amarinder disclosed that he had made all preparations to drop Channi from Cabinet when the latter had sent an indecent message to a lady IAS officer. But Channi apologized to the officer in his presence and the matter was closed.

Meanwhile, Captain Amarinder has announced the first list of 22 candidates of the Punjab Lok Congress which is contesting the forthcoming Punjab elections in alliance with the BJP. Captain himself will contest from Patiala (urban). Other prominent contestants include Bikramjit Inder Singh Chahal son of long-time aide and OSD Bharat Inder Singh Chahal from Sanaur, former SAD MLA Farzana Alam Khan from Malekotla and Ajit Pal Singh, a former captain of India’s hockey team, from Nakodar.

Also read:  Punjab Congress chief Sidhu fails in bid to keep out tainted leaders from party’s list of poll candidates