House Committee chairman defends indictment of Amarinder

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Chandigarh, Sep 8 (UNI) The Chairman of the House Committee constituted by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to investigste the 32.10 acre Amritsar Improvement Trust land scam, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda today described former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh's criticism of the formation of the committee, its validity and fairness as "a belated after thought and a clear contradiction of the stand taken on the issue by his party on the floor of he House." The committee investigated the scam involving Capt Singh, his then Cabinet colleagues, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and the late Raghunath Sahay Puri and Amritsar Improvement Trust, former Chairman Jugal Kishore Sharma and found them prim facie guilty of serious and willful irregularities causing a massive loss to the state exchequer.

The 9-member committee's report was presented in the Vidhan Sabha on September 5 which led to disruption of the House proceedings by the Congress, who claimed that the land scam matter was sub judice and could not be investigated.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Dhanda said that not only had the Committee been fomed only after a unanimous resolution of the House but the Congress party had in fact nominated its representatives to the Committee 'in writing'. Further, every member, including the members from the Congress Party duly participated in its proceedings of when the issue of the scam was deliberated.

"The Congress members in fact posed several serious questions to the accused during the course of the investigation and all this is borne out by record now with the Vidhan Sabha Secretariate," Mr Dhanda stated.

Mr Dhanda scoffed at the charge of partisan bias in the Committee's working, saying, "The complainant was a senior Congress leader, the evidence was led by Congressmen, the witnesses are either Congressmen or senior officers of the Amarinder regime and all their observations are recorded irrefutably as part of the final judgment." He said that it was significant that no member from the Congress party ever raised a question about the validity of the Committee and it was only Capt Singh who raised these issues.

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