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Uproar in Punjab house over job scam

india Updated: Dec 10, 2009 23:09 IST
Prabhjit Singh
Prabhjit Singh
Hindustan Times

The CBI indictment of Punjab Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon rocked the state assembly on Thursday, with the Opposition Congress demanding his resignation and disrupting the proceedings.

The flutter at the House was triggered by a Hindustan Times exclusive report on a Rs 4-crore job-for cash scam during 1997-2002, the previous tenure of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine.

The report, quoting the CBI, said officials of the state rural development and panchayat ministry under Kahlon allegedly offered jobs of panchayat secretaries in exchange for money.

This afternoon, soon after the House assembled and the Speaker walked up to the podium, Leader of Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal told him, waving a copy of Hindustan Times: “Kahlon sahib, you don’t deserve to be on his august chair after the CBI charges of corruption against you.” Immediately, all the Congress legislators, wearing black bandanas as a mark of protest, were on their feet, calling for the Speaker's removal.

While noisy scenes were being played out on the floor of the House, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal invited Bhattal for a two-hour debate on Friday – the last day of this four-day session – on various issues, including the CBI indictment of Kahlon. Badal insisted that no elected representative of the people had ever resigned unless charges were proved in a court of law. “There have been cases against former Prime Minster Narasimha Rao, Buta Singh, and against you (Bhattal) and me as well, but nobody (amongst us) resigned,” the chief minister said.