The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today hit out at Navjot Singh Sidhu’s allegations of misappropriation of central funds during its tenure in Punjab and said the minister should ask the state Finance department about it, instead of staging a “roadside drama”. It also reminded the cricketer-turned-politician that he was a cabinet minister now, “besides being a comedian”.
SAD spokesman and former Punjab minister Daljeet Singh Cheema said it would be better if Sidhu sat in his office for four days and tried to understand the functioning of the government, instead of “rushing off to Mumbai every other day to shoot for comedy shows”. “If you (Sidhu) do this, you will come to know that each and every penny received from the Centre under various heads is accounted for. The entire amount received for the Ludhiana Smart City project is with the Treasury department. Similarly, the Rs 114 crore you referred to as received for the AMRUT scheme is also with the Finance department,” he said.
Same was the fate of the money received from the Union Finance Ministry as part of the incentive fund, Cheema said, adding that “instead of asking us about the money, you should ask the Finance department when will it be released”.”I gave a reasonable and well thought out answer to the mindless allegations levelled by Sidhu against Parkash Singh Badal,” he said. The Akali leader took a jibe at Sidhu and said, “It is not his fault, but only an outpour of frustration. He has been dreaming of becoming the chief minister (of Punjab) for long. “He went to various shops with this agenda, before being promised the deputy chief minister’s post by the Congress. He did not get it, but his wish to become the chief minister is still very strong. That is why he is keen to project himself as someone bigger than the chief minister by resorting to big lies.”
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He asked Sidhu to substantiate his allegations of misappropriation of funds or apologise to the Akalis and the people.
“You failed miserably to substantiate any of your allegations. You have also proved that you have no knowledge of the fiscal working of the government. It would be better if you acquire this knowledge before indulging in cheap theatrics,” said Cheema. Earlier in the day, Sidhu accused former Punjab chief minister and SAD leader Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal of “siphoning off” over Rs 2,000 crore of central funds meant for the Smart City project and AMRUT scheme.