Friday, November 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Assets of Cong MLAs not to be made public: CM
Varinder Singh and Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, November 28
A high-level investigation is being conducted into the assets of all former ministers of the Akali-BJP government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Disclosing this here today, the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, disclosed that his government was firm on weeding out corruption from all public offices and, therefore, no one involved in acts of corruption would be spared.

The Chief Minister also disclosed that all Congress MLAs and ministers had been asked to furnish details about their movable or immovable assets to Dr Manmohan Singh, Chairman, Ethics Committee of the party. These details he, however, said would not be made public. Capt Amarinder Singh was here today to preside over the fourth convocation of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy.

Clarifying the party’s stand on the issue, the Chief Minister said “after deliberations by the party high command in consultation with the senior leaders it has been decided that political rivals may misuse the declaration of the assets”.

He stressed at the same time that there was nothing hanky-panky in the decision as the legislators had already sent details about their assets to Dr Manmohan Singh, Chairman Ethics Committee of Congress party. “In case there is some allegation of corruption, the property details furnished to that committee would be taken into consideration”.

The Chief Minister said no one can have any doubt on the integrity of Dr Manmohan Singh, in this regard as his honesty and commitment to the country’s cause was acclaimed internationally also.

Condemning the attack on the Raghunath Temple, Captain Amarinder Singh, said security has been tightened around all important religious places of the state, including the Kali Mata Mandir at Patiala, Devi Talab Mandir at Jalandhar and Durgiana Temple at Amritsar. “We have no report that terrorists might strike in Punjab so far, but this has been done in view of the Pakistan’s designs and its ongoing efforts to destabilise the country,” said Captain Amarinder Singh. He said there was no scope for terrorism to return in Punjab. “We won’t allow it resurface again,” said the Chief Minister. Regarding the alleged attack on a gurdwara in Hoshiarpur district by supporters of Ashutosh Maharaj recently, Captain Amarinder Singh said 52 persons had already been arrested in this connection and an investigation was underway.

Rejecting the Kelkar Committee recommendations regarding the imposition of income tax on the farm sector, the Chief Minister said the Centre should also change norms regarding compensation to drought-hit states and the criteria for declaration of a state as a drought-hit area. He said Punjab had to spend a whopping Rs 6300 crore for saving its crops from drought.

Referring to the “jail bharo” movement by Akalis, he said it was a “big failure”, farmers did not participate in it. He also denied allegations that he was “snubbed” by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the issue of his dealing with the SGPC poll. He said he had met Ms Gandhi twice after the polls, and during the meetings she advised that law and order should be maintained in the state at every cost.

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