The Punjab Assembly expelled Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday and asked the Election Commission to declare his Patiala seat vacant. This comes after a special House committee indicted him in a land scam on Friday (September 5).
Minutes after his expulsion, Amarinder said he would challenge the decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday. “They have violated the Constitution and circumvented the judiciary,” he said.
The Assembly has also directed the state Vigilance Bureau to register FIRs against Amarinder and three others and submit a status report to Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon in two months.
On Friday, the former CM, his local government minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, his housing minister late Raghunath Sahai Puri and then Amritsar Improvement Trust chairman Jugal Kishore Sharma were charged with allowing a private company to acquire 32.10 acres of the Trust’s land. The deal resulted in a loss of Rs 60 crore to the Trust.
The plot was part of 188 acres set aside for setting up hotels, motels, hospitals, etc, on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road. The Trust also suffered a loss of around Rs 300 crore as the deal affected the prospects of the remaining land, according to a report of a committee headed by Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Harish Rai Dhanda.
Amarinder said the move was expected. “Since I arrested them when I was CM, both the Badals (CM Parkash Singh Badal and his son and SAD president Sukhbir Badal) wanted to settle scores with me.”
An expert, however, said there would be no constitutional bar on Amarinder if he wanted to contest a by-election. But he might face problems since he has been expelled from the Hpuse for more than three years.
In New Delhi, the Congress reacted sharply to the expulsion, accusing the SAD–BJP government in the state of vendetta politics. “The matter was discussed in the previous Assembly and that time, Capt Amarinder Singh suggested a house committee to look into the issue. Since there was no response to it, the matter was closed then,” said Margaret Alva, general secretary in charge of Punjab.