Launching its first frontal attack on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kanwar Sandhu, the Congress on Tuesday called the journalist-turned-politician a “golak chor”.
The Congress fielded its three legislators Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Amrik Singh Dhillon and Balbir Singh Sidhu to hit out at Sandhu, who on Monday had accused the Congress of colluding with the ruling Akali Dal on illegal mining.
Sandhu is AAP candidate from Kharar for the upcoming assembly election. He is also chairman of the party’s Punjab Dialogue panel for drafting its poll manifesto.
In a press statement, Congress leaders levelled allegation of “golak chor” against Sandhu in the context of his son’s admission against an NRI seat in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)-run Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research in Amritsar, where Sandhu, then a working journalist, had reportedly sought fee-waiver from the apex religious body.
Advising Sandhu to refrain from “fabrications and deceptions” to divert public attention from various “personal and professional favours he has taken from the Akali Dal over the years”, Congress leaders said the AAP leader “should first come clean” on the alleged multiple favours.
“How did his (Sandhu’s) son get admission through the NRI quota in the medical college? Did he not seek favours from the then SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, who was then embroiled in a controversy over the death of her daughter?” the statement said.
Congress leaders also questioned Sandhu’s “failure to pay his son’s education fee”, asking: “Isn’t it true that he was served several notices for the same?” They alleged that Sandhu’s son was appointed Punjab Civil Medical Service doctor during the Akali regime. “But soon after, the PCMS recruitment scam hit the headlines and went to the Punjab and Haryana high court. Apprehending that his son would face action due to the fact that he made it to the PCMS by taking undue favours and not on merit, Sandhu made his son resign after one year of service,” they said.
Congress leaders alleged that Sandhu also got a plot allotted in Chandigarh’s Medicity in an illegitimate manner. “Sandhu should also explain why he took favours in the form of a plot in Medicity, which later turned out to be the infamous Chandigarh Medicity scam?” they said.
Dismissing Sandhu’s statement about nexus between the Akali Dal and Congress over sand mining, the Congress said mining auctions were open to everyone, while questioning the logic of terming the mining business illegal. “There is no question of illegal mining as contracts are auctioned by the industries department of the state government,” they said.
SANDHU TRASHES ALLEGATIONS
CHANDIGARH: Contacted by HT, Sandhu said his son’s medical admission in NRI quota was in accordance with rules. “We paid the entire fee of Rs 35 lakh in four installments. There was a delay in the payment because some parents had not paid at all. We insisted that before we pay the second installment, all must be asked to pay,” he said.
On his son’s PCMS job, he said it was for the Punjab Public Service Commission to explain how he was selected.
“There are some telephone calls reportedly made by some parents to those on selection panel. That time I was an editor and would have called one and all. Let anyone prove that I used influence or money to get him selected,” he said. On the Medicity plot allegations, he said: “I never applied for a plot in the Medicity. Nor have I been allotted any plot there.