Punjab: Senior INC Leader And Ex-Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu Detained By Vigilance Bureau

Senior Congress leader Bharat Bhushan Ashu, the former minister of food, civil supplies, and consumer affairs in the erstwhile Congress government of Punjab, has been detained by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in connection with an alleged scam in the transportation of foodgrain, during the Congress government’s tenure.

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The former minister was arrested in Solan on Monday. The big development came after Bharat Bhushan Ashu himself protested in front of the Vigilance Bureau office in Mohali. Additionally, Ashu claimed that he is innocent and challenged the authorities to arrest him. 

Telu Ram, Jagroop Singh, and Sandeep Bhatia, the owners of Gurdas Ram and Company, along with some government officials, were named in an FIR filed on August 16 under IPC Sections 420, 409, 467, 468, 471, 120 B and Sections 7, 8, 12, and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

As per the media reports, an official claimed, in this alleged scam, contracts for the transportation of food grains in 2020–21 were issued, and lists of vehicles, including the bike and car registration numbers, were submitted by the contractors. However, the matter was not at all verified by the officials and the payment was made to the company, creating the entire controversy. 

Bharat Bhushan Ashu is a former MLA of the Congress party, who contested, for the third time from Ludhiana West constituency but lost to the AAP candidate Gurpreet Singh Gogi in the recent assembly elections. Moreover, Ashu’s arrest came as another jolt for the Congress party in Punjab.

Earlier, former PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu was sent to jail, then former minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot was taken into the police custody, now ex-minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu has been detained by the ED. Furthermore, the scam allegations on the Congress leaders, followed by the investigations, have even spoiled the image of the grand-old-party in the border state.

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