Punjab minister’s alleged involvement in CLU scam; AAP stages walkout

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Chandigarh, Feb 25 (IANS) Demanding the resignation of Punjab minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu for his alleged involvement in the change of land use (CLU) scam in Ludhiana, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday staged a walkout from the Assembly.

Amid sloganeering by AAP legislators, the party staged a walkout over the alleged involvement of Ashu in the multi-crore Grand Manor Homes scam.

Leader of Opposition (LoP) Harpal Singh Cheema raised the issue of the multi-crore scam involving the minister and asserted that the minister had reportedly threatened the officers probing the case.

He demanded the resignation of the minister who, he said, was in league with the land mafia. He sought permission to play the phone recordings on the floor of the House, which was refused by the Speaker, Rana K.P. Singh.

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When Ashu offered to reply to clear the air about his alleged role in the scam, the protesting members returned to their seats. The minister also offered to face any inquiry initiated by the House.

The AAP demanded that the minister should tender his resignation so that a fair inquiry could be carried out.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh assured the House that the next action would be taken on receipt of the inquiry committee report.

Friction between cabinet ministers — Navjot Singh Sidhu and Ashu — came out in the open on Friday when Ashu openly questioned how Sidhu ordered an inquiry involving him (Ashu) in the prime land controversy in Ludhiana.

Sidhu on Friday ordered “stringent action against the officers guilty of wilful disobedience of the orders issued by him on July 7, 2018, regarding keeping the matter of according approval to Plan 98-C of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana in abeyance and sending the CLU case further ahead by forging the documents”.

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The minister has directed the Principal Secretary of the department to take prompt action in the matter.

Reacting strongly to the probe, Ashu in an official statement on Friday said: “I have nothing to do with the building in the present controversy. However, I will like Sidhu to explain how my name got included in the enquiry.”

“If he finds any merit in it, let him report it to the CM, but if there is any mischievous intention of any official to include my name deliberately, then let the official be penalized,” the statement said.

Sidhu pointed out that the CLU was applied for on January 17, 2018, in which the documents were forged. He said the registry of the land was done two days later on January 19, whereas it is mandatory to attach the registry papers at the time of applying for the CLU.

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“This means that the applicant was not the owner of the land at the time of applying,” Sidhu stated.

–IANS

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