Cabinet opium video leaves Cong red-faced

CHANDIGARH: A light-hearted talk on opium availability during the December 2 Punjab Cabinet meeting today left the Congress Government embarrassed, with a video on the drug use going viral on social media.

Cabinet opium video leaves Cong red-faced

File photo

laxmi@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4

A light-hearted talk on opium availability during the December 2 Punjab Cabinet meeting today left the Congress Government embarrassed, with a video on the drug use going viral on social media.

Within hours, the Opposition took on the government on its claims of tackling the drug menace in the state. Taking a serious view, CM Capt Amarinder Singh ordered charge-sheeting of two officials of the Public Relations Department.

In the unedited video, said to be released inadvertently by the PR Department, some Cabinet ministers were seen taking a dig at each other while referring to opium as “kali dvayi” (black medicine).

As one of the ministers from Malwa clarifies to the CM his position on use of the drug, a senior minister from Malwa is heard telling the former he would have to go to Rajasthan to get opium.

Another minister, again from Malwa, is heard enquiring about where to get the drug from. Another minister from Malwa, who initiated the talk, is heard listing the benefits of the drug, triggering laughter.

Fireworks were witnessed at today’s Cabinet meeting with Jail Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa and Revenue Minister Gurpreet Kangar taking on own government for not standing by the ministers.

Raising the recent murder of Manpreet Singh, alias ‘Manna’, outside a gym in a shopping mall complex on Bathinda road in Malout, Randhawa protested saying no senior party leaders came in his support as the police claimed Manna to be a gangster and the police were allegedly protecting Akali leaders whose name had figured in the murder. While speaking against the DGP, the minister even threatened to resign on the issue.

Randhawa clarified of the 14 cases registered against Manna, he was acquitted in seven and was not declared a proclaimed offender in any case.

The Minister for Jails said he was aggrieved that the Muktsar SSP was calling a Congress leader’s son a “gangster”, while Akali leaders went around protecting their people and “painting them as martyrs”. He was referring to the issue of killing of a sarpanch in Gurdaspur after which SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia had levelled allegations against Randhawa for protecting gangsters in jails. The minister flashed photographs of Majithia with gangsters.

The Revenue Minister too joined the protest, saying the PSPCL Chairman was conducting raids on his key man in his home constituency. Food and Supplies Minister Bharat Bhsuan also complained about a DSP allegedly sending him inappropriate messages. The DSP, Balwinder Singh Sekhon, had allegedly named Ashu in Grand Mano Homes case. But the charges were not proved.

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