Row over Punjab employee’s arrest
Chandigarh, December 26
Challenging the jurisdiction of the Chandigarh Vigilance Department to arrest a Punjab Government employee from the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Mrs Rupan Deol Bajaj, Financial Commissioner (Revenue), has written a demi-official letter to the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, to take up the matter with the UT Administration.
Taking serious note of the manner in which Mr Sudagar Singh was arrested from floor II, where the Chief Minister’s office is also located, Mrs Bajaj told the Chief Secretary that “under the circumstances explained, I will not be treating him as deemed to be placed under suspension”.
In the letter Mrs Bajaj stated that “it is extremely surprising and objectionable that the Chandigarh Vigilance Department had considered it fit to conduct such a trap case during office hours in the Revenue Department’s judicial record room located on the 2nd floor without bothering to inform either the superintendent or branch office or any of the officers, including me”. Interestingly the Vigilance Department is headed by the UT Home Secretary, a Haryana-cadre IAS officer, and Chandigarh Police officials are posted in it.
Mrs Bajaj stated in her letter that she had checked with the head of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau and Additional Director-General of Police, Mr A.P. Pandey, whether the UT Vigilance Department had the powers to “carry out raids” on Punjab employees within the premises of the Punjab Civil Secretariat for any alleged act of corruption. “Mr Pandey told me that the Vigilance Department of the Chandigarh Police as well as the CBI had jurisdiction in the entire Chandigarh to carry out such a raid”, Mrs Bajaj stated in her letter.
However, Mrs Bajaj countered the opinion of Mr Pandey. She stated that the UT Vigilance Department had no business to conduct such a raid on its own because Punjab had its own Vigilance Department to deal with corruption and corrupt officials.
“The manner in which the raid was conducted and the manner in which the official working under me was quickly taken away from the premises without allowing him an audience with me by the team, was most disturbing”, Mrs Bajaj reportedly stated in her letter. She stated that Mr Sudagar Singh was arrested on December 1.
Officials said if the Chandigarh Vigilance Department enjoyed such sweeping powers, it could even raid the offices of Punjab and Haryana-cadre IAS and IPS officers and other employees in Chandigarh. This meant it could also investigate their cases relating to disproportionate assets, if any.