Former Punjab cabinet minister Sucha Singh Langah on Wednesday denied misuse of Rs 38-lakh grants that he received as the president of an "educational institution" from several ministers.
Hindustan Times ('College on paper, Rs 38-lakh grants in kitty', October 23) had reported how Langah had received the grants from the discretionary quota of five ministers, one chief parliamentary secretary and one member of Parliament in the name of a non-existent institution, Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Kalanaur (Gurdaspur).
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Langah stated that the institution was a trust, not a college, and that the grants were sanctioned in the name of the trust, which was existing at Kalanaur in Gurdaspur district.
He claimed that the grants were spent on the renovation or upgradation of four other institutes (colleges/polytechnics), situated in a single complex in Dhariwal block of Gurdaspur district. Dhariwal is located about 22 km fom Kalanaur.
Langah, who was the agriculture minister in the previous Akali-BJP regime (2007-12), claimed that these institutes were managed by the trust named Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Kalanaur.
However, the agriculture minister said he was not in possession of utilisation certificates containing details of beneficiaries and the purpose for which the grant was given.
Langah also skipped the fact that the grants were issued in violation of the rules, which stated that no single beneficiary could get the minister's discretionary grant more than once in a particular financial year. In this case, Langah, as president of the "trust", received four such grants in the 2008-09 financial year (January 14, 21 and 27 and February 4, 2009). The cheques were issued on the same date(s). As per rules, if any government grant is sanctioned to a particular institution and for a particular purpose, it should be disbursed and utilised accordingly.
* Why were the grants issued to an 'institution' in Kalanaur block but diverted and spent in the Dhariwal block, where Langah is running a society?
* If Langah has been running all institutes under one society, why did he take separate grants one each in the name of the society and another each in the name of Guru Arjan Dev College of Nursing, Dhariwal?
* Why did Langah fail to build an educational institute on the plot allotted to him in Gurdaspur during an auction in 1999, despite the provision that the institute had to come up in three years?
* Why did he not mention his trust in his election nomination papers?
* Why does the trust named Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Kalanaur, does not have a registered office in the town?
* How did Langah manage to receive grants four times in a single financial year?