Punjab minister`s PS remanded to judicial custody

Punjab BJP minister Swarna Ram`s private secretary Bhag Singh was sent to judicial remand till May 24 by a court here in connection with the Rs 1.50-crore graft case after CBI did not seek his custody.

Updated: May 11, 2011, 21:05 PM IST

Chandigarh: Punjab BJP minister Swarna
Ram`s private secretary Bhag Singh was on Wednesday sent to judicial
remand till May 24 by a court here in connection with the
Rs 1.50-crore graft case after CBI did not seek his custody.

Singh was produced before Special CBI Judge Ritu
Tagore, who pulled up the agency sleuths, asking them why they
were allowing the accused to meet people.

"Anybody can do anything," she said after noticing
that Bhag Singh was allowed by the CBI sleuths to mingle with
some people.
"You (CBI) should know the basics," she told the CBI
sleuths.

The CBI had earlier arrested Raj Khurana, a BJP MLA
from Rajpura and Chief parliamentary Secretary (Finance) and
Devinder Singh, an official of Registrar, Firms & Societies,
Punjab, following a complaint from Secretary of Punjab
Automobile Mechanic Association (PAMA) Manpreet Singh alleging
that the two demanded a bribe of Rs 1.5 crore for closing a
complaint against the Association without any action.
The agency had booked Khurana alleging that the bribe
money was to be handed over through him to local bodies and
Industries Minister Manoranjan Kalia of BJP for closing the
complaint against Manpreet Singh and other office bearers of
the Association.

Both Kalia and Swarna Ram, who hold the Technical
education Portfolio, were quizzed by the CBI here on Monday.

Swarna Ram after his questioning had said, "The prime
allegation against me is a note (for expediting action in the
matter of a complaint against the Punjab Automobile Mechanics
Association) of mine which was recovered from the residence of
Khurana."

"The PAMA officials came to me because my PS was
earlier with the Industries Department and they knew him
(PS)," he said, adding that the Association wanted that he
should write a note to the Chief Minister seeking a direction
to the DGP to register an FIR regarding the dispute in the
association, which he refused.

He said, "However, I wrote a note to the Industries
Minister (Kalia) saying I was in receipt of a complaint and
requested that justice be done. However, the complainant
refused to take this note to the minister concerned and
therefore the file remained with my PS."

The arrests of Khurana and Devinder Singh were made
after a raid at the residence of Khurana on Thursday last
which resulted in recovery of Rs 15 lakh in cash and Rs 1.35
crore through nine cheques from a car belonging to Devinder
Singh which was parked outside the official residence of the
CPS.

Khurana and Devinder were sent to judicial custody
till May 24 by the court here yesterday.

PTI