Finding himself in a tight spot over allegations of embezzlement of funds by his former cabinet colleagues, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal reiterated here on Friday that his government had "zero tolerance" to corruption, and then took refuge in bashing the central government.
"In my entire life, I have done nothing illegal. And I will not support those who indulge in misdeeds," Badal said, in response to questions about disbursement of Rs. 83 lakh by fellow ministers to the then minister Sucha Singh Langah's family-managed educational institutes during the previous SAD-BJP tenure (2007-12). "Let's wait for an inquiry," replied Badal, who was here, in the constituency of rural development minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, to lay the foundation stone of development works including a multipurpose indoor stadium at Public College, Samana.
To a question about the performance of the UPA, Badal said the central government was "not performing its duty like a national government".
"Neither internal nor external security of the country is safe in the hands of the Congress-led UPA government.
He alleged that Congress-ruled state governments were being favoured: "Punjab has always been given step-motherly treatment by the Centre."
Earlier, addressing a function after unveiling the foundation stone of the Rs. 1.38 crore indoor stadium at Public College, Badal listed achievements of the SAD-BJP government in the education sector.
He announced Rs. 10 lakh for Samana's development, and asked Rakhra to prepare a comprehensive progress plan for the constituency.
At the press conference that followed, when questioned on the delay in action against officers involved in the Patiala land scam, wherein public property worth Rs. 200 crore was allegedly sold off as private property, Badal simply said the file had reached his office and "suitable action would be taken against the guilty officials". "There are some procedures, which take time. But we will take stern action," he said, when reminded that a vigilance bureau report had asked for registration of an FIR in the case.
'Manpreet has no role left'
When a journalist asked him for his views on grapevine that his rebel nephew Manpreet Badal, who now leads the People's Party of Punjab (PPP), might join the Congress, CM Badal replied, "Manpreet is all alone in his party. He has no role left in Punjab politics."
On possible re-entry of Bibi Jagir Kaur in the cabinet, Badal said he would take a decision after consulting constitutional experts. Jagir Kaur had resigned from the cabinet after she was handed a five-year prison sentence for forcible miscarriage of her daughter, who had died later.