On a public interest litigation alleging embezzlement of discretionary grants by former Punjab cabinet minister Sucha Singh Langah in connivance with his colleagues, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the state vigilance bureau to look into the complaints.
The petition filed by Jagtar Singh of Gurdaspur district came up for hearing before the division bench comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain on Friday. It alleged that the since-defeated Langah, during his 2007-12 ministerial tenure, allotted a plot for a college in the name of his son and acquired properties in the name of his other relatives illegally.
The Congress MLA from Dera Baba Nanak, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who defeated Langah in the January polls, had also written to the chief minister and the VB director in October; but his demand for a probe was not met due to political pressure, the petitioner told the court.
Another key charge is that in the previous SAD-BJP regime, Langah got grants for colleges run by an educational society headed by him. One of the colleges -- Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College - did not even exist.
The petitioner also placed on record copies of a series of news stories carried out by Hindustan Times, including 'Punjab ministers exchanged favours' in the October 24 edition, highlighting how Langah employed a "barter system" to get money for his colleges from Surjit Kumar Jyani, Adesh Partap Kairon and Janmeja Singh Sekhon and other ministers, while he gave grants to their constituencies.
The report had mentioned, for instance, that Kairon had given Rs 5 lakh each for Langah's nursing college and the non-existent Kalanaur college; and in return Langah had given nearly Rs 20 lakh to Kairon's segment Patti.
The petitioner, a former official of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, also informed that Langah had received numerous other grants under various schemes such as the Indira Awaas Yojna, and had distributed the money to his own people without even verifying the reason or the purpose for which the funds had been sanctioned.