Punjab’s Minister for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Dairy Development and SC/BC Welfare Gulzar Singh Ranike on Sunday submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
An official release, quoting a spokesman of the Chief Minister’s office, while confirming that the Minister resigned “voluntarily” and “on moral grounds,” said the paper had been forwarded to Governor Shivraj Patil.
Earlier, Mr. Badal decided to hand the investigation into allegations of misappropriation of rural development funds in Mr. Ranike’s constituency, Attari, to the State Vigilance Bureau.
Mr. Ranike is the third Minister to resign in the six-month-old Akali Dal-BJP alliance’s second consecutive tenure in power.
Earlier, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation and Defence Services Minister Jagir Kaur had to step down after being convicted in her daughter’s mysterious death. Agriculture Minister Tota Singh resigned after a special court found him guilty of misuse of official machinery during a previous term. While the three owe allegiance to the Shiromani Akali Dal, the strength of the Cabinet has come down to 14.
Following reports and the critical stances by various political leaders over the alleged misappropriation of funds in Mr. Ranike’s constituency, the Chief Minister, in consultation with Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh, transferred the investigations from the Amritsar district police to the State Vigilance Bureau.
At least two cases have been registered against Mr. Ranike’s personal assistant Sarbhdyal Singh, who has been accused of opening bank accounts in fake names, given as sarpanches (headmen) of different village panchayats in the Attari constituency of Amritsar district.
Funds aggregating to nearly Rs. 1.15 crore from the rural development funds were diverted to these accounts. The Minister’s aide has been evading arrest.
CM had ordered probe into misappropriation of funds in Minister’s constituency Third Minister to resign in the six-month-old Akali Dal-BJP alliance’s second term
CM had ordered probe into misappropriation of funds in Minister’s constituency
Third Minister to resign in the six-month-old Akali Dal-BJP alliance’s second term