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Manpreet shoots down plan for new armoured sedans for Badals

September 13, 2018 05:47 AM


Sukhdeep Kaur ■
Manpreet shoots down plan for new armoured sedans for Badals
CHANDIGARH: Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal has struck down a proposal to purchase armoured luxury sedans for his estranged uncle, former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, and cousin, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The Punjab Police security wing had sent a proposal to the finance department to replace ageing Toyota Land Cruisers in Badal and Sukhbir’s fleets. It had also sought new bullet-proof vehicles for some other VVIP protectees, including Sukhbir’s brother-in-law and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia, saying these vehicles had fulfilled their years in service. The proposal for new bullet-proof vehicles, Toyota Innovas and Maruti Gypsies as escort and pilot vehicles entailed an expenditure of Rs 9 crore.

But Manpreet, who is on an austerity pitch, refused to give his consent.

“They (Badals and Majithia) are among the richest people in north India. They are not dependent on government resources and can afford to buy bullet-proof vehicles for themselves,” Manpreet told HT.

A finance minister in the Akali Dal-BJP government, Manpreet had parted ways with the then ruling Badal family and government in 2010. In his first budget as Congress finance minister in June last year, he had presented a white paper on how the previous regime had left the state coffers empty after its decade-long rule.

However, the cash-strapped state which has been hit by poor revenue growth after the goods and service tax (GST) regime has been implemented since July last year, has sanctioned funds to upgrade the fleet of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh comprising a Range Rover, Innovas and Gypsies.

“We have only cleared funds for new vehicles for CM’s convoy,” Manpreet said.

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