Dr Daljit S Cheema says inquiry should also include Rs 2,500 crore coal washing scandal
Says AAP petition to close down private thermal plants in Punjab also pointed towards a conspiracy to blackmail the managements on the same pattern as done by the Cong
Dawn Punjab Bureau / Chandigarh : The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today requested Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore to get the corruption case involving receipt of Rs 16.35 crore from private thermal plant managements by the Congress party as well as deliberate manner in which the Congress government lost the Rs 2,500 crore coal washing charges case to the thermal plants probed by the CBI.
Addressing a press conference here, SAD spokesman Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said it was a known fact that immediately after the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) were signed with the private thermal plants by the erstwhile SAD led government, the Congress party had swung into action claiming they were wrong and even threatened to annul them. “But at the same time, the Congress party took funds from the same private companies whom its Punjab leaders including Sunil Jakhar and Capt Amarinder Singh were accusing of indulging in malpractices”. He said while Rs 8.25 crore was taken from L&T, Rs eight crore was taken from Vedanta group and Rs 10 lakh from GVK.
Dr Daljit Cheema said PCC chief Sunil Jakhar and chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh should tell Punjabis that if the PPAs were wrong and were slated to the scrapped by the Congress party when it assumed power in the State why did it take an advance of Rs 16 crore from the companies? He said the CBI should be entrusted with the case and it should probe whether the private companies were black mailed into coughing up the crores of rupees.
Demanding that the Congress government come out with a white paper on the entire issue, Dr Cheema said the government also had the responsibility of explaining why it frittered away Rs 2,500 crore to the private companies on account of coal washing charges by deliberately supplying wrong information in the Supreme Court. He said the apex court had pointed out that the Punjab government had submitted that there was no way to measure the calorific value of coal at the site when this was being done earlier. “This lie cost Punjab Rs 2,500 crore and the State is continuing to lose thousands of crores on this account every month”. He also disclosed how the erstwhile SAD led government had rejected the claim of private thermal plant managements demanding compensation for coal washing and had won the case in this regard in the State Regulatory Authority and even the national electricity tribunal.
Speaking about the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Dr Cheema said it seemed that the former was also hatching conspiracies to blackmail the thermal plant managements like the Congress party had done earlier. He said AAP had filed a petition in the apex court demanding four thermal plants in Punjab, including two private ones, be closed down for not following pollution norms. He said AAP State Convener Bhagwant Mann was now trying to cover up by claiming that the party had only called for upgradation of the plants when the petition in the apex court clearly calls for closing down the plants. Dr Cheema said AAP made this request despite the fact that the union Environment ministry had extended timelines for complying with the pollution norms. “This explains the malafide intentions of AAP”, he added.
Dr Cheema also pointed out that SAD had earlier in 2020 also approached the Governor demanding a CBI inquiry into the coal washing scandal. He said now that another scandal involving private thermal plants and the Congress party had come to light the Governor should recommend a CBI probe into both cases immediately.