Wednesday, January 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

‘Badal turned blind eye to scam’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, today accused the previous Badal government of turning a blind eye to the kidney scam which had been going on in the state for years.

Talking to mediapersons here, he said it was clear that this racket had been going on for a long time during the regime of the previous Badal government. “Either the previous government was incompetent or it was in connivance with the scamsters”, he quipped.

When pointed out that the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was alleged to have received a sum of Rs 50 lakh as election fund from one of the main accused in the case, the Chief Minister said he was not aware of the details. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) was already on the job and further action would be taken when its report was received. There seemed to be a nexus between certain touts, doctors and lawyers in the racket for luring poor “donors”.

Referring to his proposed meeting with the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister tomorrow at Delhi, he said he was going there to seek a special package for the state to woo NRIs to set up ventures in Punjab on the pattern of available in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttranchal. He pointed out that if Punjab was denied this package than there was every possibility of even the existing units in the state to shift to neighbouring states offering better incentives.

Replying to another query about the initiative of the Prime Minister with regard to the summoning of the meeting of Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana to sort out the issue of sharing of river waters and the construction of the SYL canal, he said he had received simply an acknowledgement from the Prime Minister Office today in this behalf. The Union Cabinet Secretary however, had convened a meeting of Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana at Delhi on January 24 on this issue.

He revealed that NRIs had evinced tremendous interest in the early completion of the Khalsa Heritage complex at Sri Anandpur Sahib and offered liberal financial assistance to the tune of more than Rs 5 crore in response to the presentation made by Mrs Romila Dubey, Secretary Cultural Affairs, during her recent visit to USA and Canada.

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