Amidst opposition demand for his removal, Puducherry Lt. Governor Iqbal Singh on Wednesday met Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and apprised him of his questioning by Enforcement Directorate over his recommendation for issuing a passport to alleged tax evader Hasan Ali Khan.
The 20-minute meeting at the North Block came a day after Mr. Singh was questioned by ED officials at Puducherry Raj Niwas for two consecutive days.
“The ED has questioned me. The Supreme Court is monitoring the case,” a visibly upset Mr. Singh told reporters when asked as to what transpired in the meeting.
Asked whether he was going to resign from the post following the controversy and the demand of the opposition parties in Puducherry, Mr. Singh said “I will not reply to any question.”
On what was the need for him to meet Mr. Chidambaram for the third time in ten days, Mr. Singh shot back saying, “I can meet the Home Minister any number of times, you cannot question me.”
Mr. Singh has been in the eye of a storm for his action in 1997 as a Congress member of Rajya Sabha member in recommending expeditious issue of passport to Khan, a Pune based stud farm owner and suspected money launderer.
The Lt. Governor had admitted that he did make such recommendation on humanitarian grounds as he was told that Khan needed to travel abroad to visit his ailing brother. He, however, claimed he did not know Khan.
Mr. Singh’s name surfaced during questioning of Bihar Congress leader Amlendu Pandey.
The ED action followed clearance from the Prime Minister’s Office last week to record Mr. Singh’s statement on the issue.
Mr. Singh is also embroiled in another controversy following the charge that a trust,, in which his two sons were former members, had been given clearance by the administration to set up a medical college without following due procedures.
Opposition parties including AIADMK, CPI, CPI (M), BSP and RSP observed a bandh in Puducherry on Wednesday demanding Mr. Singh’s recall.