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Punjab Health Minister accused of graft

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 10:00

Chandigarh: The BJP, an ally of ruling
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday faced an embarrassment in the
Punjab Assembly today after its minister was cornered by party
colleague and former Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS) on
alleged corruption in purchase of certain medical equipment.

BJP MLA and former CPS Jagdish Raj Sawhney insisted on a
clear response from Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla to a
question put by him to her during the Question Hour.
Sawhney had last year resigned as CPS levelling serious
corruption charges against Chawla, the accusations denied by

Sawhney, in the Assembly, sought to know from Chawla the
total number of dialysis and ultrasound machines purchased by
the Health Department during the term of the present Akali-BJP
combine government along with the names of hospitals where
these machines were installed and the amount spent on them.

Chawla told the House that the department had purchased 19
dialysis units and no ultrasound machine was purchased by the
present government.
"It is almost one year since these machines have been
purchased...these are yet to be installed...even the warranty
period of the machines might be over by now," Sawhney said.

Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon intervened and told the
minister that once the machine was purchased its warranty
period starts.

Sawhney said "who is honest it must be clear in the
House...the machines purchased were more than the fixed

Congress MLA Lal Singh said a ruling party member had
levelled serious corruption charges and the Chief Minister
should order a probe into it.

The leader of the House Parkash Singh Badal said: "what
reply can I make on this"?


First Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 10:00

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