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Chidambaram flies out of Chandigarh in Punjab’s state chopper, courtesy AG Atul Nanda

This largesse comes in contrast to the poll manifesto of the Congress that promised no use of Punjab’s state helicopter and aircraft for cabinet ministers.

punjab Updated: Feb 15, 2018 10:02 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Sukhdeep Kaur
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chidambaram,Punjab’s state chopper,Atul Nanda
Senior lawyer and former Union minister P Chidambaram, Punjab’s additional advocate general Rameeza Hakeem and AG Atul Nanda at the high court in Chandigarh on Wednesday.(HT Photo)

The Congress government on Wednesday rolled out the red carpet for Supreme Court lawyer and the party’s former Union minister P Chidambaram, who was here to appear for the state against a single bench ruling of the Punjab and Haryana high court quashing the appointment of retired bureaucrat Suresh Kumar as the chief minister’s chief principal secretary.

After the HC’s double bench set aside the quashing, paving the way for Kumar’s return, Chidambaram was flown back to New Delhi from Chandigarh in a state helicopter, courtesy the state’s advocate general Atul Nanda, the man who was under fire for “not defending” Kumar’s case well earlier.

When contacted for response, an official spokesperson of the government said, “The state helicopter was made available to the AG, who is entitled to the same on account of his cabinet rank, to facilitate him in his official work relating to an important legal case.” He said the AG flew to Delhi for an important case.

But it is reliably learnt from senior officers who did not want to be named that the AG did not have any case listed in Delhi, and that he left for Mumbai from Delhi in relation to a case he has taken up in his personal capacity.

Nanda could not be contacted for comment.

This largesse comes in contrast to the poll manifesto of the Congress that promised no use of state helicopter and aircraft for cabinet ministers. Finance minister Manpreet Badal, who had drafted the manifesto, had himself courted controversy for using it, as did some of his ministerial colleagues.

Earlier, former solicitor-general of India Ranjit Kumar had appeared to defend the government’s decision before the single bench.

First Published: Feb 15, 2018 09:50 IST