Ghai to be new Punjab AG as Anmol Sidhu quits

Published on Jul 27, 2022 01:02 AM IST

Sidhu posted resignation letter dated July 19 on Twitter citing ‘personal reasons’; Ghai will be fifth AG of state in 10 months

Vinod Ghai to be new Punjab AG.
Vinod Ghai to be new Punjab AG.

Chandigarh : Barely four months after being appointed as the Punjab’s advocate general (AG), senior advocate Anmol Rattan Sidhu has resigned citing personal reasons, while criminal lawyer Vinod Ghai will succeed him.

Ghai, 56, will be the fifth AG of the state in 10 months.

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday told the media in Delhi that Ghai is being appointed as the new AG. A formal notification is awaited.

Son of a noted criminal lawyer, late RS Ghai, 62-year-old, Vinod Ghai practises on the criminal side and is considered one of the top criminal lawyers at the Bar. He was appointed senior advocate in 2012.

Sidhu, who was appointed in March after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power, tweeted his resignation letter dated July 19 on Tuesday afternoon. He posted the letter submitted to chief minister Bhagwant Mann on social media and thanked him for the opportunity to serve the state. Besides Mann, he expressed gratitude to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha.

His letter cites “personal reasons” behind his decision to quit. However, close aides blamed “poor coordination” between the government and AG office behind his move.

Sources said, even as government was installed on March 16, the appointments of law officers could not be done due to “differences” over the lists being proposed by Sidhu and AAP top brass. “Also, the government made Sidhu to challenge a national commission decision on Scheduled Caste reservation for appointments at AG office. But later was told to withdraw the same, apparently seeing political fallout. The case was at the stage of the high court granting a stay to the government. But it was decided to withdraw the case,” a close aide of Sidhu said.

Sidhu himself remained tight-lipped on this, but his colleagues claim that getting gangster Lawrence Bishnoi’s custody in murder case of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala and running AG office without a team of his own for three months with Congress appointees was his major achievement. No major adverse order was passed in high court all this while, they claimed.

Sources in government also claimed Sidhu differed on certain issues with senior bureaucrats, even as he enjoyed Mann’s support. “It was increasingly becoming difficult for him to continue,” another key aide added.

Mann in Delhi admitted that even as Sidhu had submitted his resignation, he had requested him to continue for “some time”.

Meanwhile Ghai’s appointment may also not be that easy for the government to defend it politically. The AAP had been vocal against the appointment of senior advocate APS Deol last year when appointment was made by then Charanjit Singh Channi government. Deol had appeared for former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in the post-sacrilege violence of 2015.

Senior advocate Ghai has defended Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in several cases, including the recent one, wherein the Punjab government wanted him to bring him to the state for questioning in 2015 sacrilege cases. The court agreed for his questioning within the jail premises in Rohtak.

Ghai has also appeared in some cases against former DGP Saini and recently was successful in securing bail to sacked former health minister Vijay Singla in a corruption case. He is appearing in a corruption case against Congress minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu also.

Govt creating administrative uncertainty: Warring

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring on Tuesday lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the state for allegedly creating an atmosphere of “administrative uncertainty and instability”.

Reacting to the resignation of advocate general Anmol Rattan Sidhu, Warring said it does not augur well for the state that persons holding such senior positions are replaced so frequently. “The moment an official starts feeling settled, this government ensures that he is unsettled at that moment only”, he remarked in a statement.

“Earlier, the DGP and the chief secretary were given an unceremonious exit for the reasons best known to the government and now the AG has resigned”, he pointed out, while remarking it only shows the inexperience and incompetence of the AAP government which is not letting the officials to settle down.

“It seems @BhagwantMann govt is ‘going’ - Channi govt way! Striking similarities. Then also, first DGP was removed, then the AG. Same script being followed now, only characters have changed. Earlier the puppeteer was Harish, now it’s Raghav Chadha. In any case, Punjab suffers” said former state Congress chief and BJP leader Sunil Jakhar in a tweet.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, February 03, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals