Vowing to recover every penny of the public money lost in the alleged multi-crore foodgrain scam from the “corrupt Badal and company”, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said he will hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) if elected to power.
“We will make sure that the money stolen by the Badals is brought back into the state coffers once we are back in reign. The Badals have been looting the state ever since they formed the government in 2007 and the multi-crore foodgrain scam is their crowning glory in corruption,” said Captain, while claiming the Congress would not hesitate to initiate legal action against chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and deputy Sukhbir in the alleged scam.
Promising a thorough physical verification of the state’s foodgrain stocks to find the truth, the PPCC chief said: “Even in 2002, when we came to power, we had put the corrupt people behind bars.”
Amarinder said when he took over the reins of the state from Akalis in 2002, Punjab’s outstanding central debt amounted to ` 4,500 crore. “This debt was successfully nullified by my government,” he said, alleging that after the Badals came back to power, the state again plunged into a debt trap. “The restructured `30,000-crore loan from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will push the state under a debt burden of `50,000 crore for the next 20 years,” he said.
“I will not allow the Badals to get away with it. Nobody involved in the scam will be spared at any cost,” he said, pointing out that even the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) had found enough evidence to nail the Badal government in the alleged scam. “The people of Punjab cannot be made to pay for the ill-doings of the Badals,” he said.
In its complaint to the vigilance bureau in April this year, the state Congress had pointed out that the CAG and RBI had prima facie concluded that the disappearance of stocks worth `32,000 crore was a case of misappropriation of central funds and diversion of foodgrains.
“Of the 3,319 trucks that were claimed to have been used by the state procurement agencies, the CAG had, in a random check of their registration numbers, found that a large number of the 87 vehicles traced were actually two-wheelers and cars. The remaining could not be traced, clearly indicating that the grain never reached the stores,” said Amarinder.