NEW DELHI

No compromise on corruption, says Himachal CM

SHIMLA, FEB. 26. Accusing the former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal, of ``patronising'' and ``defending'' corruption, the Chief Minister, V.B. Singh, today said it was ``strange'' that Mr. Dhumal felt ``threatened'' whenever the government initiated action against corruption.

Replying to two-day debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address in Assembly, the Chief Minister said, ``Mr. Dhumal was the fountainhead of corruption while in power and was openly coming out in defence of corruption when out of power''.

He said the Congress was voted to power on the issue of eradicating corruption and there would be no compromise with the ``corrupt and corruption''.

Whether it was corruption in Subordinate Services Selection Board of HP University or irregularities in the Service Commission, Mr. Dhumal had sided with the corrupt, the Chief Minister alleged.

He accused Mr. Dhumal of being the ``prime motivator'' in wrongful appointments in the university.

Referring to the Himachal Public Service Commission, Mr. Singh said the chairman of the commission should step down to maintain the dignity of the constitutional body as he did not want to sully the image of the commission by ordering an enquiry. However, nothing barred the government from holding a probe if present state of affairs continued, he added.

Mr. Singh also accused the previous Dhumal government of indulging in ``gimmicks''.

Referring to the vote-on-account, Mr. Singh said it had to be resorted to as the annual plan had not been finalised and holding a month-long budget session on the eve of Lok Sabha polls was not possible. --PTI

Our Staff Correspondents adds:

The Assembly also witnessed heated exchanges when Mr. Virbhadra Singh, in his reply to a question raised by the lone Loktantrik Morcha MLA, Mohinder Singh Thakur, on PWD contracts, said his government believed in transparency and has nothing to hide. The CM accused Mr. Thakur, who is a former PWD Minister, of setting an all time record in bunglings and corruption in the department. He called Mr. Thakur a "petty contractor" who used to run away after leaving the works unfinished.

Mr. Dhumal, who too was present in the House, took exception to these remarks, and said he was surprised at the "newly found transparency" in PWD by the Congress government. He said in his constituency, at one place -- Tauni Devi -- a single contractor has been given 70 works in just 6 months. He alleged that some "extra constitutional authority" was working in the area to get all the contracts and payments through the government.