Saturday, June 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Sidhu refuses to accept suspension order
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
The suspended Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, has refused to acknowledge the receipt of his suspension order.

According to reliable sources, the orders of the Governor were sent to him through a team of vigilance officials, doctors and a duty magistrate at the Patiala jail where he is at present lodged. He was called to the office of the Jail Superintendent where he was given a copy of the order.

After reading the order, he reportedly refused to acknowledge its receipt saying that he had nothing to do with it, the sources said.

The Vigilance Bureau has sought the permission of the President, through the Governor of Punjab, to launch prosecution against him in two cases — one under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the other for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

This permission, the sources said, had nothing to do with the suspension orders issued by the Governor after the President referred the case of the PPSC Chairman to the Supreme Court for an inquiry into the allegations of corruption.

The challans in both cases against Sidhu are ready for presentation in the court.

The state government was not aware of the mode or method to be adopted by the Supreme Court for holding an inquiry against the suspended PPSC Chairman. “It is an unprecedented situation. Never before has such a situation arisen. We are all waiting for the next action. Only after an inquiry by the Supreme Court, as desired by the President, can be dismissed,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, one of the 18 PCS officials (nominated category), who have been reverted to their parent departments, has not reported for duty in the Excise and Taxation Department.

The official, Mr Harbans Lal Bansal, besides joining the PCS from the ETO category allegedly through a bribe, was named by Randhir Singh Gill, alias Dhira, as having introduced some other beneficiaries for recruitment to the PCS (Executive Branch).

“We have been trying to reach him but he has disappeared,” sources in the Vigilance Bureau said, claiming that the Department of Excise and Taxation had been requested to ask him to appear before the bureau as and when he joined his old job.

Certain other “tainted” officials have already been questioned by the Vigilance Bureau.

Since both Shamsher Singh, a pharmacist in the Animal Husbandry Department, and G.S. Manchanda, a former ex-banker, have been evading arrest, proceedings to declare them proclaimed offenders have been initiated.

“Our next step will be to attach their property,” Vigilance Bureau sources said, maintaining that at times messages had been received both from Shamsher Singh and Manchanda indicating their willingness to “surrender”. “But each time they back out and have been on the run,” the sources added.

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