Pondy Lt Governor in fresh controversy over trust

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 19:50

Puducherry: Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal
Singh, under ED scanner for alleged links to suspected money
launderer Hasan Ali Khan, was caught in a fresh controversy
over the administration`s in-principle clearance for a medical
college to be set up by a trust reportedly linked to him.

The controversy broke out over reports that some
members of the South Educational Trust, which plans to set up
a medical college at Karaikal, were from Singh`s family and
due procedures had not been followed.
But dismissing "all the reports as maligning" and the
trust as "baseless and mischievous", Trust chairman S Tejinder
Pal Singh said Iqbal Singh had no link with the medical
college project.

Of the six Trust members, three of them including two
sons of the Lt Governor had resigned, he said.

He said the Puducherry government had not given any
land for the trust. "It is only a private initiative on the
part of the trust," which was started to take up charitable
projects, with the medical college project being one of its
objectives.

Singh claimed there was a "strong lobbying" against
the trust in Puducherry "and the Lt Governor has no link in
the medical college project."
The new controversy has erupted even as the Prime
Minister`s Office gave its nod to the Enforcement Directorate
to question Singh for his suspected links with Khan, a stud
farm owner, facing charges of money laundering and tax
evasion.

Singh faced trouble after his name cropped up during
questioning of Bihar based Congress leader Amlendu Pandey in
connection with his recommendation for expeditious issuance of
passport to Khan when he was a Rajya Sabha MP in 1997.

In a clarification, the Puducherry government today
said the Trust was issued only an in principle NOC by the
government in March-April 2010 without any commitment.

The Trust later approached the government for an
`essentiality certificate` in the format prescribed by the
Medical Council of India but it could not be issued since the
relevant norms under Establishment of Medical College
Regulations of the MCI--setting up of 300-bedded hospital--
were not met.

Subsequently the Trust requested for a certificate to
enable it to raise bank financing of the project based on
the undertaking given by it to fulfil the MCI conditions in
due course, Chief Secretary R Chandramohan said in a release.

The release said a modified `essentiality certificate`
modelled on the `essentiality certificate` prescribed by the
MCI was issued on February 25.

It did not, however, amount to the `essentiality
certificate` required for applying to MCI for starting a new
medical college.
Chandramohan said the `essentiality certificate` in
the prescribed format could be issued only after the trust
fulfils MCI`s prescribed essential conditions to be verified
by the Director of Health Services and with the state Cabinet
recommendations.

The grant of permission to the trust without allegedly
following due procedures came in for attack from local units
of AIADMK, CPI and CPI-M who demanded that Singh be recalled.

Chief Minister V Vaithilingam and Home and Health
Minister E Valsaraj met Iqbal Singh today against the backdrop
of the fresh controversy.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 19:50

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