Trouble appears to be brewing for former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi with the Vigilance Bureau receiving a complaint of corruption regarding alleged diversion of funds from an official function to his son’s wedding and a RTI reply putting the then CM’s three-month food bill at Rs 60 lakh.
Channi, however, denied both the allegations and termed them a ‘witch hunt’ launched by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the state to frame him in corruption cases.
As per the Right To Information reply, Channi had spent Rs 60 lakh on food in three months as CM. For three consecutive months, food was ordered from Taj Hotel in Chandigarh for 70 people. This apart, Channi has spent eight lakh for a one-night party after the election code of conduct had come into effect following declaration of Assembly polls in Punjab.
Earlier, the Vigilance Bureau had received a complaint alleging the state Tourism Department had spent Rs 1.47 crore on Daastan-e-Shahaadat programme organised in Channi’s constituency Chamkaur Sahib on 19 November 2021, the bills of which were exorbitantly inflated to adjust the expense incurred during Channi’s son’s wedding.
The former CM, however, denied the allegations and claimed that the AAP government is trying to frame him ever since he returned to India after an eight-month stay abroad.
“The AAP government was going after me and monitoring my bank accounts. I am ready for any probe,” Channi asserted. He clarified that his son got married in October, but the Daastan-e-Shahaadat programme was held in November.
“Earlier, they tried to arrest me in Mansa when I visited Sidhu Moosewala’s house. They have raked up several other complaints also. This complaint is funny as the said government function happened more than a month after my son’s wedding. The wedding was simple at a gurdwara. The owner of the marriage palace, where the reception was held, was my family friend who did not charge me any money,” the former CM said.
He further said he eats simple home food and never ate meat and never drank alcohol as shown in the food bill of CM house during his tenure. All corruption charges are being made regarding his three-month tenure as CM.
AAP spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang, however, said Channi spent Rs 1,200 on a cup of tea and Rs 3,900 for a plate of food. “Shameless to see this loot and plunder happened on the pretext of ‘Dastaan E Shahadat,” he said in a tweet.