Tuesday, April 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Govt in a fix over Sidhu case
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The euphoria over the arrest of the Punjab Public Service Commission chief, Mr Ravi Sidhu, here last week notwithstanding, the State Vigilance Bureau finds itself in a piquant situation.

The state government has initiated the process to recommend his suspension to the President through the Governor. Once the recommendation from the Governor reaches the office of the President, Mr Sidhu may be placed under suspension.

The bureau may find it hard to justify the source of money allegedly used to bribe the PPSC Chairman. The complainant or the decoy had used Rs 5 lakh in cash.

Sources in the government maintain that it may not be easy for the complainant to explain the source from where he got the cash. He is considered a close friend of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP, and son of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. His role in the entire case will be crucial.

The bureau has been able to get some startling disclosures made by the PPSC Chairman, yet it has an uphill task of keeping the complainant on its side. The complainant, too, would have to justify how and from where he got this much of “surplus” cash. The bureau will also extend its net to four others who were reportedly working for the arrested PPSC Chairman.

The sources maintain that reviewing all selections made by the commission during the past five years may not be without legal implications as in a number of cases there may be court directives and even orders for considering “deserving candidates”. The government is now reviewing all legal aspects of the case.

The sources maintain that though general service rules and apex court directives provide for powers the appointing authority to remove a person, yet it will not be appropriate for the state to initiate such proceedings in the present case. Rather, the government will recommend his removal to the President as soon as formalities are gone through in a prescribed manner.

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