Saturday, June 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Tota Singh in Vigilance net
Tribune News Service and UNI

Moga, June 14
Former Education Minister and local SAD MLA jathedar Tota Singh was picked up by the Vigilance Bureau from here, this afternoon.

The former minister was in the premises of the local sub-jail when he was rounded up by more than a dozen policemen and asked to accompany them sitting in his own car. Eyewitnesses said his bodyguards tried to resist but were shown government orders of their withdrawal from security duty. They were asked by the Vigilance team to report to the local police for their further posting.

However, the details of his arrest were not available from official sources but they revealed that he came to the jail at about 2.55 pm to meet Jora Singh, Sarpanch of Daudhar village who is under trial on charges of murder. But soon after his arrival in the jail, policemen surrounded the jail premises and asked him to sit in his own car which they drove away to an undisclosed place.

TNS tried to contact Ms Anita Punj, SP, Vigilance, Ferozepore division, for official comments but she was not available. The telephone operator at her house said she was out of station on leave. Her subordinates were also not available for comments.

The sources said he was picked up by a team of the Vigilance Bureau from Chandigarh and was taken back to the state capital for further investigations. However, no concrete information was available from here. When TNS tried to contact his son Makhan Singh it was told that the latter was out of the country since the formation of the new government.

Jathedar Tota Singh has been in the midst of a controversy for selection of 100 science teachers and was indicted by the Lok Pal last month. Apart from this, he was also alleged of amassing property worth crores of rupees beyond his known sources of income. The sources said he was picked up today after a preliminary inquiry was held against him following a report published recently in a vernacular newspaper, published from

Chandigarh, regarding amassing of property by him. According to reports, a family friend of Mr Tota Singh said the former minister was picked up for questioning in connection with the paper purchase scam in the Punjab School Education Board. Mr Tota Singh is the second minister of the erstwhile Badal government who has come in the bureau net.

The Vigilance had earlier on May 16 booked former PWD Minister Sucha Singh Langah in a case of corruption, cheating and fraud. Langah has been evading arrest since in spite of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s appeal to him to face the Vigilance in the case registered against him. The bureau has, however, arrested seven associates of Langah and unearthed assets worth more than Rs 15 crores.

Meanwhile, Punjab Vigilance Bureau sleuths searched the residence of Tota Singh here this evening.

Sources, confirming the search drive, said heavy police force had been deployed in the surrounding area of the residence of the minister.

  Tota Singh taken to Mohali police station
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 14
Former Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh, picked by the Punjab Vigilance Department from Moga this afternoon, was brought to Chandigarh and later shifted to the Phase VIII police station in SAS Nagar. According to information, earlier the former minister was brought in his Tata Qualis — bearing registration No. PB10 AU 6690— to a government house in Sector 23.

To evade the attention of the scribes, the Vigilance officials parked the vehicle of the former minister in the backyard (of the house) along with other vehicles of the Vigilance Department. An official car of a Superintendent of Police and a Gypsy of the Vigilance Department were also parked in the backyard of House No.5 in Sector 23. Some officials of the Vigilance Department present in the house feigned ignorance about the presence of the former minister and his vehicles.

Sources in the department said Tota Singh, a sitting Shiromani Akali Dal MLA from Moga, might have been taken in custody for questioning and was probably kept at house No 5, but it could not be confirmed. It is learnt that the Vigilance officials led by a Superintendent of Police had shifted the MLA to another undisclosed location in the same sector. As no official of the Vigilance Department was available for comments, it could not be ascertained whether the former minister had been formally arrested or not.

Investigations have been in progress against the MLA in connection with various alleged scams in the Education Department and the Punjab School Education Board regarding purchase of paper and printing of textbooks in the Punjab School Education Board and recruitment of clerks and of teachers, including Nisha Kaura’s case. It has also been alleged that the former minister had amassed property worth crores of rupees beyond his known sources of income.

Last month the Punjab Vigilance Bureau after sealing two godowns of the Education Board had sent samples of the paper to three government agencies for testing the quality of the paper.

It had been alleged that paper worth Rs 30 crore was purchase from private paper mills by altering the terms and conditions. It was alleged that a heavy commission was pocketed by the former education minister and officials of the board in the process.

Can a sitting MLA be arrested while an assembly session is in progress? This issue has been raised after Tota Singh was picked by the Vigilance Department from Moga.

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