The serving Chairman of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) and the former Minister of Food and Civil Supplies Bharat Bhushan Ashu moved the High Court of Punjab and Haryana for directions to Punjab not to arrest him or take any coercive step against him in the FIR registered in the matter of alleged infractions to the tune of to Rs 2,000 crore in allotment of labor and transport tenders for raising grain. The matter has not yet been brought before the High Commissioner.
As per the reports, the matter regarding “irregularities” in grain raising tenders is being investigated by Punjab Vigil Bureau after representatives of small contractors for labor and transportation filed a complaint with VB in this regard.
Ashu sought through his counsel, Senior Defenders Vinod Gai, Kanika Ahuja and Tarun Seth, that if an FIR was registered against him, he would not be arrested unless he was given at least seven days’ prior notice of the filing date from the FIR.
In the petition that he took office as Cabinet Minister in 2018, Ashu submitted a new policy to purchase food grains (mainly wheat and rice) through food procurement agencies and Food Corporation of India, on behalf of the Government of India from various procurement centers or mandis located in Punjab and the same was approved by the then Punjab Council of Ministers.
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“According to this new policy, electronic tenders were put forward by the Local Tender Committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner – Deputy Head of each district, while in the previous policy taken by the previous government, the Deputy Director – Deputy Head of Food Supply was the last authority to allocate the tender. Here it is recognized Also, the last electronic bid (2022-23) was launched and the work was allocated based on advantages to different contractors.”
“The policy for the year 2018-19, 2019-2020, 2021-22 and 2022-23 was drafted by the previous government of Punjab and approved by Cabinet Ministers and the entire e-bidding process was online and transparent…the petitioner has no role He plays in allocating the bid to any particular person or company as the whole process has been online and the person or company applying for the electronic bid must meet the criteria and conditions stipulated therein.” in the petition.
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The petition also claimed that after the formation of the new state government in March 2022, the AAP began filing false cases against its rivals due to retaliatory political retaliation and cheap popularity gain, and that no wrongdoing had been done by the petitioner as a civil servant and the policy so formulated is a business It is the work of good management.
Asho added that he was surprised to learn that the contractors who were not qualified to participate in the electronic tender process at the time of the last government, had addressed a press conference claiming that the previous government abused power and formulated a policy with bad intentions. To expel some of the old contractors who monopolized the previous tenders.
Acho asserted that the unqualified contractors remained silent for three years after the said policy was drafted and did not challenge the said policy at all, which is the best remedy available to them, if they have any complaint regarding the said policy. Acho added that he had concerns that he would be arrested on flimsy grounds at any time as a complaint was passed on to CM who flagged it in the vigil department.