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Punjab CM reaches out to legislators sulking over Chief Secretary issue

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Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wednesday reached out to some ministers and legislators who had objected to alleged unacceptable behaviour of Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh and blamed him for excise revenue loss.

The CM held a lunch meeting with cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Gidderbaha MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Jalandhar Cantt legislator Pargat Singh and Urmur MLA Sangat Singh Gilzian.

It is learnt that the CM had invited them for the meeting at his Siswan farmhouse near here.

Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar was also present in the meeting, said Randhawa.

Randhawa said he raised with the CM the issue of Chief Secretary's alleged unacceptable behaviour with ministers during a meeting here on May 9.

When he (the CM) asked about the Chief Secretary issue, we told him that chief secretary's attitude was not right and the way he spoke (with ministers) cannot be tolerated by anybody, Randhawa told reporters here after meeting CM.

The Jails Minister said the CM was told about what had happened on that day and why ministers had walked out of the meeting.

He said the CM assured them that he would look into the matter.

The crisis was triggered after a showdown on May 9 between two ministers and the CS at a meeting where the state's post-lockdown excise policy was being discussed.

After Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi opposed any relief for liquor vend owners, the CS allegedly made some curt remarks.

Upset over his remarks, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Channi walked out. Later, Badal and Channi had even announced not to attend any meeting where the CS was present.

After this unsavoury incident, the CS was divested of the additional charge of Financial Commissioner Taxation and at least 10 Congress legislators led by Amarinder Singh Raja Warring sought a probe against the CS, blaming him for excise revenue loss.

However, Jalandhar Cantt MLA Pargat Singh was not part of the group of 10 legislators who had sought action against CS.

Warring, during the press conference on Wednesday, said the downfall in revenue was the responsibility of the CS who was heading the department.

I think leakage is there. 100 per cent there is problem somewhere, said Warring, when he was asked whether he blamed illegal smuggling for revenue loss.

Gidderbaha legislator made it clear that there was no difference with the CM.

Jalandhar Cantt MLA and former Indian hockey captain Pargat Singh said there was no harm in setting up a corporation for excise if the state's revenue goes up with it.

Pargat, a few days ago, had reportedly lashed out at his own government, demanding setting up of excise corporation to boost excise revenue and stop liquor smuggling.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 20 2020. 21:23 IST
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