Ex-mayor, husband in dock over maintenance of parks

  • Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jan 01, 2015 10:41 IST

Former mayor Harjinder Kaur and her husband have been accused of entering into an illegal agreement with the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and accepting Rs 1.5 lakh for maintaining public parks from May to September 2013.

The issue came to light after Chandigarh Defence Colony Welfare Association, Sector 35, lodged a complaint with Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Chandigarh, against the New Indian Education Society, Sector 32, for entering into an agreement for maintaining parks in Sector 35-A and B.

The complaint, filed by Marshal Randhir Singh (retd) of the defence colony welfare association, states that Jagdish Pal Singh is the chairman, Kaur the secretary and her husband Manmohan Singh the principal of the education society.

The complaint also states that the entire financial transaction was arranged by the former mayor and her husband.

The memorandum of understanding signed with the civic body bears Manmohan Singh's name and he even allegedly signed receipts for four cheques through which the municipal corporation made the payment. Rules restrict educational societies from indulging in activities that are not related to education.

Likewise, another society, Third Eye Chandigarh Resident Welfare Association, Sector 44, in which Manmohan Singh is a cashier and also functions as the officiating president in the absence of the president, has been paid Rs 6 lakh for maintaining public parks in Sector 44.

The municipal corporation's rules forbid municipal councillors and their family members, especially their spouse, from entering into agreements accruing financial benefits with the municipal corporation.

The civic body's guidelines also clearly state that responsibility of maintaining neighbourhood parks exclusively lie with the resident welfare association of the area at the cost of Rs 2.48 per sq metre.

Confirming receipt of the complaint, CBI superintendent Tarun Gauba said they were verifying the claim.

Soon after the issue was highlighted, the civic body cancelled the MoU.Confirming that the agreement no longer stands valid, horticulture department executive engineer Krishan Pal Singh said, "CBI has taken some records pertaining to transaction."

Kaur, meanwhile, denied that she or her husband's role in the transaction."I no longer hold any post in the society. We had only decided to revive the society which had been lying defunct for some time.

However, we handed over the society's affairs to others soon after," she said, adding that Prabhjot Singh Brar is handling the affairs of the Sector-44 society.

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