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Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today ordered the Director General of Police to crack down on those involved in alleged extortion of money from businessmen and industrialists. He directed the police chief to activate all available resources to identify and take strict action against the culprits, irrespective of who they are, according to an official release. The issue was raised during a Cabinet meeting by some members, who urged Amarinder Singh to take cognisance of reports related to extortion of money, also known as "Goonda Tax", from businesses and industries in some parts of the state. Finance Minister Manpreet Badal alleged that his name was being vilified in the whole process, that was adversely affecting business sentiment, which the state government was striving hard to promote. On which, the chief minister told the DGP to initiate immediate steps to crack down on those involved in extortion, without taking into consideration their political or other affiliations. Amarinder Singh asked the DGP to ensure that the message goes down the rank and file of the police force that no laxity or delay in the matter would be tolerated. Such activities hinder the governments efforts to bring industrial and economic development back on track, and to provide a clean and transparent environment to boost industry and investment in the state, he said. The chief minister also asked the chief secretary to monitor the work of the committee set up to check illegal mining in the state. Opposition party SAD has been criticising the state government for extortion of money from businesses in Bathinda allegedly at the behest of some Congress MLAs.
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