Ex-Punjab minister Ashu’s former key aide sacked : The Tribune India

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Tribune press service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, August 20

The state government today ordered the dismissal of Rakesh Singla, deputy director of the Department of Food and Supply and a key defendant in the tender scam. However, he was fired under Punjab civil service rules for allegedly leaving the country without taking proper leave and approval. Singla is now believed to be in Canada, where he had been granted permanent residency (PR).

Disciplinary proceedings were instituted against him under Rules 8 and 10 of the Punjab Civil Service (Punishment and Appeal) Rules 1970, for illegally/unauthorized obtaining Public Relations in Canada. While all other indictments against Singla were dropped, this indictment remained as he refused to drop public relations.

A favorite of former food and supply minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Singla appreciated the department’s final say on the award of any tenders. The investigation into the tender award scam has so far revealed that Singla allegedly “got the spoils” from contractors whose bids were accepted after eliminating their competitors.

As soon as complaints about “preferential tender award” were filed with the new AAP government, Singla was not seen in the office here.

Although Singla has been accused in five cases of causing losses amounting to millions of dollars to the department, he was handpicked by Ashu to head the chief vigilance committee. Such was his influence in the tenure of the previous Congress government that the five charge sheets issued to him (before Congress came to power) were dropped one by one, allegedly at the request of the former Minister Ashu.

Despite repeated attempts, Ashu could not be contacted as he was unresponsive to calls. Although the former minister’s name is mentioned in the FIR registered by the Vigilance Bureau, he has not been named as a defendant in the auction case so far, a senior VB official confirmed.

“The investigation is ongoing. If the role of the minister is established, he will also be named as an accused. Today, we have an extension in the custody of the entrepreneur Telu Ram, whose company obtained the “tender for trucking, labor and transportation of mandis grain in Ludhiana. His further investigation is likely to reveal the role of each person accused by the plaintiff in the scam,” said the officer.

He also said that the properties of all officers named in the FIR were being scrutinized to see if they had been purchased with the proceeds of corruption.

5 charges against Singla dropped

  • Wheat distribution irregularities in Rayya for causing loss of Rs 10 crore
  • Wheat damage in Tarn Taran causing loss of Rs 50 crore
  • Irregularities in food grain supply in Banga leading to loss of Rs 25 crore
  • Failure to file tax returns as DFSC in Jalandhar, for which the department paid a penalty of Rs 5 lakh
  • A delivery crate of wheat worth Rs 61 lakh without the required orders

Not punished for corruption

Rakesh Singla, deputy director of the food and supply department and one of the main defendants in the tender scam, was fired under Punjab civil service rules for allegedly quitting the country without having taken the appropriate leave and approval. Singla is now believed to be in Canada, where he had obtained permanent residency.

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