Punjab minister Charanjit Singh Channi is not new to controversies
At the centre of political storm after a woman IAS officer accused him of sending “inappropriate” text messages to her, Punjab technical education minister Charanjit Singh Channi, 48, is not new to controversies.
Right from fulfilling his astrological desires to allegations of illegal mining in SBS Nagar district, Channi, a three-time MLA from Chamkaur Sahib in Rupnagar district, has courted controversies at regular intervals in his 18-month tenure.
A Dalit face in Capt Amarinder Singh’s cabinet, Channi believes in astrology and his friends say he even practices “weird” things to keep shining in politics.
A few days after he was inducted into the state cabinet, Channi, on the advice of an astrologer to have east facing entry to his house for political gains, illegally constructed a road from a park outside his official residence in Sector 2, Chandigarh. Within hours, the road was razed by the Chandigarh administration.
Again on his astrologer’s advice, Channi rode an elephant in the lawns of his house in Kharar. His picture of the “elephantine” act went viral and left many amused.
In February this year, Channi’s act to flip a coin to decide on the right candidate, out of two nominees, for the post of a lecturer in a polytechnic institute left the ruling Congress embarrassed. A government spokesperson had to clarify that the minister’s intention was to allot the posts in a “transparent” manner after a video clip of his “toss” act went viral on social media.
In October last year, Channi, who took an entrance test to pursue PhD on the Indian National Congress, failed to clear it, but later Panjab University authorities allegedly relaxed norms and slashed passing marks for SC/ST students, just to accommodate the minister.
As the minister of technical education, Channi remained at loggerheads with officials working with him and he was accused of recommending transfer of one of the IAS officer whom he didn’t like.
Meticulous rise in the Congress
Channi’s spectacular rise in politics, especially in the Congress, has also earned him many political enemies even within from his own party. His political journey started as a president of the Kharar municipal council 2002. He contested the 2007 assembly polls from the Chamkaur Sahib constituency as a Congress rebel and won as Independent. In 2012, he joined the Congress and won the seat. In 2016, he was made the leader of opposition in Punjab assembly against the wishes of Captain Amarinder Singh-led camp. He draws his strength from the Congress high command and hardly has any sympathiser among his cabinet colleagues.
In the eye of storm
Despite being a member of Amarinder cabinet, Channi has often criticised the style of functioning of the government on various issues. He has been an open critic of the government on the issues concerning the Dalits and has accused the government of neglecting the community in the appointments made in the office of advocate general. In a cabinet meeting last week too, Channi criticised the government on Bargari issue. This is the reason why the minister’s well-wishers consider “leak” of the IAS woman’s complaint as a strategy to politically finish Channi.
Every second minister in the new Grand Alliance government in Bihar faces a senior criminal case, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms and Election Watch released on Wednesday. Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav also have cases registered against them. Both Congress ministers have criminal cases and one of them is facing serious criminal charges. His elder brother, Tej Pratap Yadav, has studied up to class 12.
Pune police on Tuesday booked Satish Kumbhani, founder and owner of BitConnect, an investment platform, for allegedly duping Pune-based lawyer in a multi-core scam. According to police, A lawyer based in Kondhwa Budruk has lodged complaint at cybercrime police station on Tuesday. In 2016, the lawyer has invested ₹49 lakh in 54 bitcoins and the accused assured him returns of 166 bitcoins.
Police on Wednesday arrested two brothers for allegedly raping a minor girl adopted by their parents over the course of two years. The girl had attempted suicide in the Muslim Yateemkhana in Parade on August 14 night and was admitted to UHM hospital, where she shared her ordeal. Police investigations have found that one of the brothers had made a video of the girl, now 16, and used it to blackmail and rape her.
Police have arrested the school headmaster Vijay Kushwaha after a class 6 student of a primary school in Pipauli Shiv village of Auraiya district was left locked in the school toilet for 19 hours on August 5. The matter came to light the next day when the school opened. On August 5, the child went to the school toilet around 2 pm. After locking the classrooms, the staff locked the toilet too.
Mumbai Raising concerns over the news report that a pregnant woman from Palghar lost her twin babies as she could not be taken to the hospital in time, the Bombay high court (HC) has asked the state government to take immediate action and make medical facilities accessible to expectant mothers and infants in tribal areas. Advocate Jugal Kishore Gilda submitted that the issue was of some doctors who are appointed on contractual basis, but not reporting on duty.