Punjab Congress vice president Sunil Jakhar alleged on Monday that the state government was trying to hush up the pesticide scam by deflecting attention towards corruption charges against former director agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu.
Jakhar was here to find out the progress in the case filed by special secretary, agriculture pertaining to fraud in the purchase of Rs 33-crore worth of Oberon brand of pesticide in 2015. Accompanied by MLAs Balbir Sidhu,Parminder Singh Pinki and Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Jakhar met assistant inspector general Hardyal Singh Mann at the state crime police station, Bureau of Investigation.
“The entire matter is being hushed up to save the big fish as the pesticides purchase (of the Oberon brand), as claimed by Mangal Singh, was directed from the chief minister’s and agriculture minister’s offices directly”, alleged Jakhar.
Jakhar said the government filed a challan on Monday against Sandhu in a separate case registered on September 15, 2005 for accepting bribe of Rs 8.5 lakh from a pesticide dealer. “We want to know the progress in the case registered on October 6, 2015, in connection with the Oberon pesticide purchase. The challan only talks of 2005 case. This is being clearly done to deflect the attention from the main issue,” he said.
“The pesticide scam resulted in the damage to the cotton crop on 8.5 lakh acres in the Malwa region. More than 3 lakh families have been hit,” said Jakhar.
He pointed out that the the former agriculture director was authorised to make purchases up to `10 lakh only, while in this case pesticide worth Rs 33 crore was bought.
Jakhar also supported the proposal of Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh on mass resignations of all party MLAs and MPs in the state in case the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal case is against Punjab.