Acting on a public interest litigation challenging the Punjab government’s transport policy allegedly manipulated for private profit causing losses to the state exchequer by the state chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday issued notices to both the Badals.
The high court has been informed that both the father-son duo and their relatives having a large number of their own buses are major beneficiaries of the policy.
During the resumed hearing of the case before the division bench headed by acting chief minister MM Kumar the petitioner submitted the information downloaded from the website of the union ministry of corporate affairs about the transport companies having shares of Badals. It was informed that Orbit Transporters, Baaz Transporters, Dabwali Transport and Real Estate private limited were all shareholders in Orbit Resorts between September 2007 and September 2008 along with other share holders. The others included Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia, father-in-law Satyajit Singh Majithia, mother-in-law Sukhmanjus Majithia, sister Praneet Kaur Kairon. But on April 10 last year among other transfer of shares, the shares held by Orbit Transporter in Orbit Resorts were transferred to Sukhbir.
It was further added that Sukhbir is also the majority shareholder of Dabwali Transport Company which has registered three times increase in the profit after tax deduction in 2010-11 as compared to 2007-08.
The bench was also informed that Baaz Tranports, also having interests of Sukhbir, is defaulting in filing annual return and balance sheet for the last three financial years which makes difficult to ascertain profit of the company.
Ever since the new transport policy has come into force, company in which chief minister’s family members are major share holders have made manifold profits, the bench was informed. However, appearing for the state government advocate general Punjab Ashok Aggarwal submitted that the policy was made with the consent of the state assembly which also have assent of the Governor and thus cannot be challenged in the court. On this, the bench mentioned that the matter would be looked into by the court and directed the chief minister and the deputy chief minister to file their replies before November 18.