Chandigarh: Three months after Punjab Vigilance has initiated a probe into alleged misuse of funds during execution of the Rs 315 crore Jang-e-Azadi Memorial near Kartarpur, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau has issued summons to Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Ajit Group of newspapers editor-in-chief.
He has been summoned to record his statements on May 29 for an ongoing investigation into the use of funds while constructing the Jang-e-Azadi memorial, 18 km from Jalandhar.
Pertinently, this memorial was built during the BJP-Akali government and it was the dream project of former CM Parkash Singh Badal.
The Vigilance Bureau Jalandhar Range had initiated an inquiry into the project in March this year. There is a complaint that there was a mis-use of funds while making this project. Recently, the secretary of the managing committee Lakhwinder Singh Johal was also summoned.
The budget of this project was Rs 315 crore.
Hamdard was instrumental in the conception and construction of the project since 2012 and the Vigilance is probing that how the money was spent during its construction.
Opposite slams AAP government
Since the summons issued to Hamdard, opposition parties have started questioning the Aam Aadmi Party government.
Condemning the move of the government, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal wrote on the Twitter, “It’s shameful – this brazen act of a power drunk @BhagwantMann and his AAP govt against the voice of Panth and Punjab – Ajit, and against Padma Bhushan S Barjinder S Hamdard. This is clearly a revenge against Hamdard sahab for his principled stand on Freedom of the Press.”
He further said This govt run by non Punjabis can never silence the voice of Punjab’s conscience. @Akali_Dal_ stands by Hamdard sahab & Ajit newspaper (Punjab Di Awaaz) against this arrogance of power.
Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa said, “Vigilance Bureau summoning Punjab’s one of the most respected media personalities, Padma Bhushan Dr. Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Managing Editor of the Ajit Group is highly deplorable.
With such pressure tactics, the @AAPPunjab govt wants to stifle whatever the independent voices are left in the media landscape of Punjab.
Punjab CM @BhagwantMann is trying to create a “Bei-Maan Media” in Punjab that would only parrot whatever “His Master’s Voice” orders.”
Former Punjab Deputy Chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said, “History is witness that dictators have always used power to muzzle the voices that expose their failures.Vigilance bureau’s action against Dr. Barjinder S Hamdard, Editor, Daily Ajit, is an attack on the Freedom of the Press & vengeance against him for his firm ethical stand.”