Just two months into Punjab Cabinet, leaked audio puts AAP minister Fauja Singh Sarari in fix : The Tribune India

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Just two months into Punjab Cabinet, leaked audio puts AAP minister Fauja Singh Sarari in fix

Second AAP minister to face ‘graft’ charges in six months of govt

Just two months into Punjab Cabinet, leaked audio puts AAP minister Fauja Singh Sarari in fix

Fauja Singh Sarari

Tribune News Service

Sukhmeet Bhasin

Bathinda, September 13

Barely two months after being inducted into Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s Cabinet, Minister of Freedom Fighters, Defence Services Welfare, Food Processing and Horticulture Fauja Singh Sarari has been embroiled in the thick of a controversy over his leaked audio with his close aide, Tarsem Lal Kapoor.

In the audio clip, which has gone viral on social media, the 61-year-old minister is purportedly heard talking about trapping some contractors involved in the transportation of foodgrain with the help of government officials when the trucks are half loaded, to extort money from them. They are also heard saying that the DRO copy should be sought from the contractors as it is issued 15 days before loading the material and is a tedious process to get it. “I don’t think they will have the copy and then the contractors, including District Food Supplies Controller (DSFC), will come to them immediately,” they are heard saying in the clip.

Further, they are allegedly talking that the DSFC is also involved in this and gets his commission. Both are also discussing that it should not happen that the truck drivers or owners get arrested and contractors go scot-free. Sources said Tarsem Lal Kapoor and his nephew, Jonny Kapoor, were handling all the work in the absence of the minister since his induction into the Cabinet, but when the latter was booked by the police for misusing the flag on his car on Saturday, Sarari disassociated himself from them to save his position. Later, Tarsem uploaded a series of videos on social media.

However, while talking to mediapersons on Sunday, Sarari claimed, “Tarsem wanted me to help Jonny in this case, but I denied. Hence, they are now levelling false allegations against me. The audio is edited too.”

Notably, in the first six months of the Mann government, this is the second instance when an AAP minister has allegedly faced corruption charges as earlier the CM had sacked Health Minister Dr Vijay Singla in a similar case.

A greenhorn in politics, Sarari has come a long way from once being a police constable to a minister. He has served in the police for over four decades and after hanging his uniform in 2020, he took up politics and won as an MLA for the first time from Guruharsahai in Ferozepur district in the state Assembly polls held earlier this year. He was taken into the Cabinet in the first expansion on July 5.

Minister skips Governor’s visit

Ferozepur: Under fire after his ‘audio clip’ went viral, Cabinet Minister Fauja Singh Sarari was conspicuous by his absence during Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s visit to this border town on Tuesday. However, three MLAs belonging to the district were present during the event, in which sarpanches took part. OC

No complaint, no action: SSP

So far, no complaint regarding the audio clip has been received by the office. Hence, no probe has been started into the matter yet. — Surendra Lamba, Ferozepur SSP

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