10 Sep : Congress leader and former chief minister Amarinder Singh was expelled from the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday after being indicted by a House committee in a graft case and his seat declared vacant.A resolution to his effect was moved by ruling Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Harish Rai Dhanda and passed in the Assembly amid protests by slogan-shouting Congress members who boycotted the proceedings.
The Election Commission will be asked to hold by-elections and Director of the Vigilance Bureau will be directed to inquire into the Amritsar land scam, in which Singh was indicted, and submit a report within two months,the resolution said.
The 66-year-old Congress leader, who represents Patiala, was on Friday indicted by a special committee of the Assembly for alleged irregularities in exempting 32.10 acres of land for private development in Amritsar during his tenure as chief minister.
The ruling SAD had yesterday issued a whip to its MLAs asking them to remain present in the Assembly today when it was to debate the report of the Committee.In the 117-member Assembly, the SAD has 49 members, its ally BJP has 19 and the main opposition Congress has 44 members.
The remaining five legislators in the house are Independents.Accusing the Badal government of vendetta, Singh had earlier said he feared arrest but will not seek anticipatory bail. He said would not leave unchallenged any move to disqualify him from the House.
"They (Akali-BJP combine) will disqualify me from the Assembly, register a case and arrest me," Singh told reporters ahead of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting in Chandigarh.
"I am carrying anticipatory bail plea in my pocket…but I will not use it," Singh said.Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Singh’s bete noire, had said the party stands by Singh but he should explain the allegations against him and let the truth come to fore.
"We have asked Amarinder to bring the truth before the people as such allegations are bringing bad repute to the Congress in the state," the Leader of Opposition said.Later, Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari alleged that the findings of the Committee that indicted Singh were "biased and one sided".
In reply to a question, he said the Punjab unit of the Congress was united and denied that Bhattal "had played any role in getting Singh involved in the mess".
The Special Committee of the Assembly in its report had indicted Singh, two former ministers and a Congress leader in a land deal involving the Amritsar Improvement Trust.DDINEWS