Punjab agriculture minister gets one year jail
Mohali: In the second embarrassment for the Punjab government in the last five weeks, a local court today convicted Agriculture minister and senior Akali Dal leader Tota Singh of misusing official machinery and sentenced him to one year in jail.
Singh, who was charged with misusing the official car of the Punjab School Education Board, however got some reprieve when he was granted bail to enable him to approach a higher court to challenge the conviction.
The Minister, in his late seventies, however, got relief in another case when Additional District and Sessions judge Rajinder Aggarwal acquitted him of owning assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Singh, who was also slapped a fine of Rs 30,000, was present in the court at the time of pronouncement of the verdict.
The court said that in case the minister defaults in paying the fine he would have to further undergo six months in prison. However, the minister immediately paid the fine.
Besides registering a case against Singh for allegedly misusing his official position, Punjab Vigilance Bureau had also booked him for possessing property worth Rs ten crore, which was stated to be disproportionate to his known sources of income during the SAD-BJP regime from 1997-2002. The cases was registered in 2002 Congress when the Congress was in power.
Singh, who was then the Education Minister, was inducted as a Cabinet minister in the Parkash Singh Badal government in March this year.
He is the second minister in SAD-BJP coalition government in the state to be convicted and given a jail term after senior minister Bibi Jagir Kaur.
Jagir Kaur was sentenced to five years imprisonment by a CBI court in Patiala on March 30. Kaur was sentenced recently in connection with a case relating to the mysterious death of her daughter.
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