Amid controversy over promoting nepotism, Punjab govt defends appointment of minister’s son-in-law

The Personnel Department had already objected to providing a job to the minister’s son-in-law on compassionate grounds as a special case

Amid controversy over promoting nepotism, Punjab govt defends appointment of minister’s son-in-law

Punjab Revenue Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar. File photo

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 17

Amid the controversy over the Congress government promoting nepotism by giving government jobs to the kith and kin of ministers, MLAs and MPs, Capt Amarinder Singh led government on Friday defended the appointment of Gursher Singh, son-in-law of Revenue Minister Gurpreet Kangar as Excise and Taxation Inspector on compassionate ground, in a one- time relaxation without the case being treated as a precedent.

The Personnel Department had already objected to providing a job to the minister’s son-in-law on compassionate grounds as a special case.

The department had then stated that Gursher owns property worth crores and does not fit the bill to be employed on compassionate grounds.

Though none of the ministers objected to the appointment in the Cabinet meeting, minister Sukhjinder Randhawa after the meeting defended the appointment but said instead of the relatives of ministers, jobs should be given to the needy, as part of the promises made by the party in the poll manifesto.

Chairing the meeting of the Cabinet, the chief minister noted that Gursher’s father, Bhupjit, had played a major role in blowing the whistle in the Ravi Sidhu PPSC scam to clean up the Punjab Public Service Commission.

Bhupjit Singh, who was posted as Excise and Taxation Officer in Excise and Taxation department, had died on September 28, 2011. At that time, his son Gursher Singh had just completed his graduation in commerce.

As per the office records, Jasbir Kaur, wife of Late Bhupjit Singh in her application dated June 26, 2020, (8 years after her husband’s death) had requested for employment in favour of her son Gursher Singh.

In a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), it has been pointed out that as per the government policy in 2002 and 2005, the heirs of the deceased employee/officer have to apply for employment within one year from the date of death.

“The policy also clarifies that if there is a genuine cause for delay, the application of the candidate can be considered up to a delay of 5 years after obtaining special approval from the Personnel Department, citing reasons of the delay in detail.

“Based on the qualification and the contribution made by Bhupjit Singh, Excise and Taxation Officer, during his tenure, the applicant has been considered for the post of Excise and Taxation Inspector, and the Cabinet has decided to make an exception on special grounds,” said the statement.

Recently, the government had invited criticism by appointing son of MLA Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa as DSP and son of another MLA Rakesh Pandey as Naib Tehsildar. The matter had reached the party high command also.

Then party general secretary in charge Harish Rawat had appealed to both the MLAs to give up the jobs. Bajwa’s son had then given up the job.

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