Under fire from farmers and the opposition Congress for serious irregularities in the purchase of pesticides for cotton growers,Punjab agriculture minister Tota Singh on Wednesday said he is “clean”.
“I am clean (main rabb valohn saccha han),” he said when he was asked to respond to the charges leveled by opposition party in connection with “spurious” pesticides that led to massive damage to cotton and violation of norms in purchase of ‘Oberon’ pesticide by agriculture department.
“I do not want to say anything more on this. Truth will come out,” he said.
The protesting farmers as well as a combative Congress have been seeking Singh’s resignation for serious irregularities found by a recent inquiry report in the purchase of pesticide.
Punjab government has suspended director agriculture Mangal Singh Sandhu following the submission of the inquiry report.
Sandhu was also arrested by Punjab police for his alleged involvement in the supply of “spurious” pesticides.
The inquiry report mentioned “serious irregularities/violations” in purchase of pesticides by Sandhu who preferred to purchase ‘Oberon’ pesticide at his own level thus “ignoring” the orders of agriculture minister that too “without examining” it technically and adopting e-tendering process, besides “without seeking” approval from the competent authority thereby exceeding his financial powers.
However, the opposition party has said that Sandhu had been made a scapegoat in the case in order to save the agriculture minister, who has been given a clean chit in the inquiry.
The agriculture Minister in Punjab Vidhan Sabha last month had rejected the charge of Congress, saying opposition party was unnecessarily politicising the issue.
Singh had accused the opposition of unnecessarily dragging him in the issue for their narrow vested interests and political ambitions.