CBI summons two Punjab BJP ministers in graft case

Chandigarh: Two BJP ministers of Punjab have been summoned by the CBI in connection with the graft case in which party colleague and Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS), Finance, Raj Khurana has been arrested and are likely to appear before the agency on Monday.

Technical Education Minister Swarna Ram has told the CBI that he will appear tomorrow after he was served the notice. The Local Bodies and Industries Minister Manoranjan Kalia said that he was "ready to cooperate in the investigation" and would "contact the officers of the CBI" to fix the time of his appearance.

The two ministers in Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government were issued notices by the agency to join investigations into the Rs 1.50-crore graft case that led to the arrest of Khurana and a government employee on Thursday.

CBI had arrested Khurana, a BJP MLA from Rajpura, and Devinder Singh, an official of office of Registrar, Firms & Societies, Punjab after registering a case under Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of a complaint received from Secretary of Punjab Automobile Mechanic Association (PAMA) Manpreet Singh alleging that Singh had demanded of bribe of Rs 1.5 crore for closing a complaint against the Association without any action.

Chandigarh Police sources said today that elaborate security arrangements will be made around the CBI office in Sector 30 here in view of the expected appearance of the two ministers before the agency officials.

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

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 for closing the complaint against Manpreet Singh and other office bearers of the Association.

The Special CBI Court here yesterday had extended the CBI remand of Khurana and Devinder Singh after the CBI contended that the two accused had to be confronted with Kalia and Swarna Ram, whose names also cropped up during the conversation between Devinder Singh and Khurana.

The CBI had last week submitted in the court three recordings of the conversations made with a Digital Voice Recorder (DVR) between the two arrested accused and the complainant.

Both the ministers have denied any relation with the accused or the complainant or with the case and stated that they were ready to join the investigations.