Even as the controversy over Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal's Rs. 1-crore donation to The Lawrence School, Sanawar, is yet to die down, another grant of an equal amount from Punjab Nirman funds has come to light.
It is learnt that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal donated Rs. 1 crore to the Rajasthan government for the development of Khachariawas, ancestral village of former Vice-President and BJP leader Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.
Badal handed over a cheque to Shekhawat's widow Suraj Kanwar on May 15 this year during a function to unveil a statue of the late BJP leader at Khachariawas in Rajasthan's Sikar district.
The function was also attended by senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and Indian National Lok Dal president Om Prakash Chautala. Speaking on the occasion, Badal had promised more grants.
The Sikar district magistrate's office confirmed receiving the grant cheque, but refused to give details of its utilisation.
Sources said the Rs. 1-crore grant was approved at the Punjab cabinet meeting in May.
When contacted, Satish Chandra, secretary, planning, Punjab, confirmed that the cabinet had approved in May the release of the grant for the development of Shekhawat's village. "As per orders, we issued the cheque in the name of the Sikar district magistrate. It was handed over by the CM during the function," he said, adding that the amount had come from Punjab Nirman funds.
Chandra said there was nothing wrong in donating money for such purposes as it helped to build cordial relations with other states. He, however, failed to give an example of another state giving a similar donation to Punjab.