Petitioner alleges cover-up attempt to protect Badals

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Old 20-Oct-2011
Petitioner alleges cover-up attempt to protect Badals

Chandigarh October 20:

Less than a month after the Punjab and Haryana High Court asked the State of Punjab to file a status report on the manipulations in the transport policy for revving up the profits of private bus operations in Punjab, the petitioner has alleged cover up attempts to protect the Badals.

Responding to the status report, the petitioner, Barrister-at-Law Himmat Singh Shergill, has asserted: “There is not even a whisper or a word in the status report as to which transport companies are owned by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and their relatives; and in which transport companies they are shareholders”. The petition is based on The Tribune exposé on how the transport policy has been manipulated for driving private players in Punjab towards profits. Shergill has been seeking a probe into the matter by the CBI or a High Court Judge.

In his counter-affidavit, Shergill has asserted: “The details of CM’s family ownership and shareholding in the integral or super luxury category is very necessary to be placed before this court, as there has been a tax reduction of 93.33 per cent in this segment, whereas for ordinary buses the tax reduction is only 10 per cent”. Shergill has averred the “tax reduction per km per vehicle per day in ordinary buses is 10 per cent, whereas tax reduction in high vacuum air-conditioned buses is 50 per cent. The tax reduction in case of integral buses is 93.33 per cent.

Referring to the investigations carried out by The Tribune, Shergill has contended the reports “categorically mention that in case of ordinary buses, the mentioned tax reduction was only 25 paise from Rs 2.50, whereas in case of high vacuum air conditioned or luxury buses, the tax reduction was of Rs 1 from Rs 2. In case of integral or super luxury buses, the tax reduction was of Rs 7 from Rs 7.50. Describing the unequal tax reduction as an “irregularity”, Shergill has added there is no justifiable legal reason for it; and it is “prima facie an arbitrary exercise of power, which seems to have been exercised for extraneous considerations”. The case is scheduled to come up for hearing before the Bench of Acting Chief Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Rajiv Narain Raina on October 21.

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