It is expected that soon Sidhu will assert that these corruption allegations against him are politically motivated so that he could go scot-free.
By Rakesh Raman
A vigilance inquiry has been accelerated against a disgruntled Punjab Congress leader and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, his wife, and other associates under allegations of corruption and abuse of power.
The inquiry which was initiated a couple of years ago was progressing at a tardy pace. However, now it has gained momentum because Sidhu has started accusing Punjab chief minister (CM) Amarinder Singh of complicity in the Guru Granth Sahib sacrilege case of 2015.
According to a May 16 report in the Hindustan Times newspaper, the Punjab Vigilance / Anti-Corruption Bureau has fast-tracked its investigation into some ‘shady deals’ involving Sidhu, his wife, and their close associates.
It is alleged that Sidhu misused his authority to commit corrupt acts when he was Punjab’s Local Bodies Minister a couple of years ago in the Amarinder Singh government.
According to the report, the anti-corruption agency is investigating a number of cases in which Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur – a former MLA – allegedly colluded with others to commit property-related corruption crimes involving crores of rupees.
Most Welcome … Please do your Best !! @capt_amarinder
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) May 15, 2021
In response to the investigation, Sidhu asked Amarinder Singh to go ahead with his decision. “Most Welcome … Please do your Best !! @capt_amarinder,” Sidhu tweeted on May 15.
Meanwhile, a former Congress leader and activist Mandeep Singh Manna has accused a personal assistant (PA) to Navjot Kaur of bagging a project worth Rs 30.57 lakh for his unregistered construction firm using Sidhu’s influence.
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A 2018 report in The Tribune newspaper has quoted Manna who has been demanding a high-level investigation, saying that corruption starts from the house of Navjot Singh Sidhu while his PA and others have been embezzling government funds. Manna, according to the report, also promised to provide the necessary documents to the investigating agencies.
In a recent interview to a Punjab video channel that Manna posted on May 3 on his Facebook page, he claimed that he has evidence of multiple corruption cases in which Sidhu and his wife are involved. But when Sidhu is asked about these cases, he evades the questions, Manna adds.
It is largely believed that Navjot Singh Sidhu has been attacking CM Amarinder Singh mainly on Twitter because Sidhu is aspiring to become the Punjab CM after the Punjab Assembly election which is scheduled to take place in 2022.
Since Amarinder Singh is not ready to quit his position, he is trying to implicate Sidhu and his wife in corruption cases with the aim to tarnish their image among the Punjab voters.
Therefore, it is expected that soon Sidhu will assert that these corruption allegations against him are politically motivated so that he could go scot-free. But the state’s anti-corruption agencies must fully investigate these cases against Sidhu independently without coming under any political influence.
The agencies must treat these cases as white-collar financial crimes and hold investigations in a transparent manner so that the culprits could be punished if a crime has happened.
Meanwhile, a new report released by the U.S. Department of State has revealed that rampant corruption is happening at all levels of government in India. The report says that the law provides criminal penalties for corruption by government officials, but most government officials frequently engage in corrupt practices with impunity.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also produces The Integrity Bulletin news magazine which covers international corruption cases and related issues.
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