Punjab chief minister sacks health minister Vijay Singla on kickback charges

The two-month-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann sacked Health Minister Vijay Singla Tuesday after corruption charges were leveled against him. IANS reported.

Mann said Singla was involved in corruption cases and the government had proof of it. He said the sacked minister had also admitted the wrongdoing.

Singla is a legislator from the Mansa assembly constituency. He was the first cabinet-rank minister from the constituency in more than three decades.

In the Indian system of government, cabinet ministers have the highest rank and are on a par with the chief minister. They are followed by ministers of state and deputy ministers. The last tier is seldom used these days.

Mann also ordered the state police to register a first information report (FIR) against Singla.

The charge against Singla is that he was demanding a commission of 1% on each government tender.

Mann said there would be zero tolerance for corruption in his government and the decision to eject Singla and investigate him was taken to ensure that the government remains free of corruption.

“I am taking strict action against the minister,” he said. “I am removing him from the cabinet. We have found substantial proof of his involvement in the corruption case.

“I do not care if the opposition parties want to use this to hit out at us. The point is that we will not tolerate anyone indulging in such malpractices.

“Our party’s national convener [Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal] has made it clear that corruption will not be tolerated. He had himself removed a minister in Delhi in 2015 after corruption charges were leveled against the minister,” Mann added in a video message.

Singla had won with the highest number of votes in the assembly election in Feb-March this year.