The Hush Post: So excited seemed to be the officials of the Local Government Department that they wrongfully announced the decision against Mayor Kulwant Singh to have been ‘suspended’ in the official release issued to the media, whereas it was a ‘show cause’ notice for his removal from councillorship.
The Local Government Department under Navjot Singh Sidhu flip-flopped on Thursday while announcing action in an alleged case of corruption against Mohali Mayor and three others including a former Municipal Commissioner. When senior officers of the Local Government Department were contacted for clarification on the order of suspension, they seemed to have realised the mistake.
A revised order released to media said that Mayor Kulwant Singh has been given show cause notice for his removal from his councillorship along with two other officers in the case. The case recommending suspension of the former Municipal Commissioner has been sent to the state government whereas two other officials have been chargesheeted.
He said that Mayor of Municipal Corporation, Mohali Kulwant Singh in connivance with the then Commissioner Rajesh Dhiman and other officials indulged in blatant misuse of his position and caused a loss of grave nature to the state exchequer while making a purchase of a tree pruning machine. The machine was priced at Rs 28 lakh in the country while for making its purchase from abroad the price was Rs 80 lakh. But a resolution was passed for purchasing it at exorbitant price of Rs 1.79 crore and orders were placed for its purchase. The orders placed for purchasing the machine have been cancelled promptly and the recovery of amount paid in advance to the contractor has also been ordered.
Meanwhile, Mayor Kulwant Singh after being served the show cause notice has said that he will take the matter to the court. Reacting sharply to the development, Kulwant Singh said it seemed to be the fallout of his tussle with his friend-turned-foe Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu.
When asked to comment on the issue by a national daily, Mohali MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu said, “As you sow, so shall you reap. You have to pay for your deeds. Apparently, favours were made in purchase of the machine. There is no politics in it.”
Sidhu further said in his statement that the department got the probe conducted by the vigilance cell and the orders initiating action have been issued against the Mayor and officials found guilty in the report of the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO).
The then Commissioner Rajesh Dhiman has been chargesheeted in accordance with the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment & Appeal) Rules 1970 Section 8 and case recommending his suspension has been sent to the concerned department. XEN Naresh Batta and DCFA Vinayak have been suspended according to the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment & Appeal) Rules 1970 Section 8. Apart from this, ACE Mohinderpal and Surinder Goyal have both been chargesheeted and recommendation has been made for chargesheeting Internal Local Fund Auditor of the Municipal Corporation, Mohali.