Chandigarh: The Punjab government has approved the prosecution of former minister and Congress leader Bharat Bhushan Ashu. Senior officials of the Vigilance Bureau said that this approval is considered necessary under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. However, the Vigilance has already filed a charge sheet (challan) in the case registered against Ashu in Ludhiana in the court.
According to officials, the court is unable to take action against the former minister without government approval. The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has registered four cases at different places in connection with the alleged food scam that took place during the Congress regime. The bureau is also investigating the food scam and allotment of tenders at around 10 other places.
Ashu has been named in two cases so far. With four cases registered in the food scam and the approval given by the government, the former minister’s troubles seem to be increasing. According to vigilance sources, around a dozen cases are likely to be registered in the case.
Ashu’s bail has already been cancelled by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a case. Ashu may have to spend a long time in jail with the vigilance naming him in more than two cases. Ashu has so far been named by the Vigilance in cases registered in Ludhiana and Nawanshahr.
Vigilance officials said that action can be initiated against the minister in other cases related to the scam after completion of investigation in all the cases.
A senior vigilance official says that this case of food scam is very intricate. It will be the endeavour of the Vigilance to take it to justice and to fight the case in the court against the officers or politicians who have caused loss to the public exchequer on the basis of strong and concrete facts.
The official said that during the investigation across Punjab, it has come to light that this big scam has taken place at the behest of Ashu.
Ashu was arrested by the Vigilance in August from Ludhiana. The former minister was then arrested and interrogated in connection with a case registered in Nawanshahr district. Contractors have also been arrested in these cases and departmental officers are being involved in the investigation.