Chandigarh: The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has initiated a probe against former Chief Minister and Congress leader Charanjit Singh Channi. The investigation has been initiated by the Vigilance on the basis of a complaint received under allegations of financial irregularities worth crores of rupees in the Tourism Department.

Chief Director Vigilance Varinder Kumar has handed over the investigation against the former chief minister to AIG Flying Squad Manmohan Sharma, sources said. The complainant, Rajbinder Singh of village Bhagu in Bathinda district, has attached the complete document along with the six-page complaint alleging that Channi had embezzled crores of rupees during the “Dastan-e-Shahadat” function at Chamokar Sahib, the assembly constituency of the former chief minister in November 2021.

The complainant has also alleged that the expenditure incurred on the marriage of the son of the former chief minister has been adjusted under the garb of the expenditure incurred on the event. It has been alleged in the complaint that there was a scam of Rs 1.47 crore during the expenses incurred during the “Dastan-e-Shahadat” event. According to the complaint, while allotting the work for the event, evidence of the alleged scam appears everywhere from allotment of tenders to expenditure.

It has also been alleged that work was allotted at 20 times higher rates than normal at the event, which is a major financial irregularity. The complainant has claimed that Rs 97 lakh was spent on the temporary stage.

The cost of a cup of tea has been shown to be up to Rs 2,000 per cup and a few months later, the Election Commission had fixed the price of a cup of tea at Rs 12 per cup during the assembly elections. An expenditure of Rs 2,000 per person has also been shown on the plate of food.

The cost of a plate of ‘Chole Bathore’ has been shown to be Rs 250 per plate and its actual price is Rs 25 per plate. According to the complainant, the rent of tent chairs, tables, etc. has also been shown to be excessive.

Meanwhile, Charanjit Singh Channi was made chief minister by the Congress in September 2021 by removing Captain Amarinder Singh from the throne. The cultural affairs and tourism department was kept by Channi. After the change of guard in the state, the former chief minister had gone abroad and after more than eight months, Channi has returned home in December.

Vigilance officials say that the matter will be thoroughly investigated and further action will be taken only after a thorough investigation. Sources also revealed that the former chief minister is being probed by the Vigilance in several other cases as well.

Channi accuses AAP govt of conspiring to send him to jail

Former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi alleged that the AAP government in the state was hatching a conspiracy to send him to jail after implicating him a false case. Therefore, the Vigilance has not opened an inquiry but many investigations have been opened against them.

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