Several critical government files, including Rs 1,144-crore Ludhiana City Centre scam related to Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh, have gone missing from the department previously headed by Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. The other vanished files related to unauthorised construction on agricultural land in Ludhiana belong to the Local Government Department.
Sidhu who earlier headed the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs portfolios was divested of the ministry by the CM on June 6. He was made responsible for Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources during a Cabinet rejig that took place after the Lok Sabha election results were declared.
Sidhu who did not assume charge of his new department had tendered his resignation to the CM on July 14. His resignation has, however, not yet been accepted by the CM. He had sent his resignation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi one month ago.
In the Ludhiana City Centre scam, the State Vigilance Bureau has already granted a clean chit to the CM and other accused including his son Raninder Singh.
According to the sources, the government is serious about the missing files and efforts are on to recover them. The department has created a list of all such files that remain untraceable. “Efforts are on to trace the files. We are trying to establish contact with Sidhu, who might be aware about them,” a senior official told IANS.
Brahm Mohindra, Local Government Minister has already initiated department inquiry to look into the curious case of the missing files. One such file pertains to granting the clearance to the luxury apartment project in Ludhiana.
Sidhu was divested of the Local Government Ministry by the Punjab CM on claims that his handling of the department was “inept” and inefficient, citing the poor performance by the Congress party in urban areas of the state. Sidhu, on the other hand, defended himself stating that he has always been a “high performer” and is unnecessarily being singled out publicly by the CM.