Amarinder slams AAP, SAD over political funding issue

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Chandigarh, Jul 13 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said the funds given to the Congress by private electricity companies had nothing to do with power purchase agreements and slammed opposition AAP and SAD for 'lying blatantly' on the issue.

His statement came a day after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the Congress government in Punjab of not scrapping power purchase agreements (PPA) signed during the previous SAD-BJP regime and said the present dispensation has accepted 'funds' from three power plant companies.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has sought a CBI probe over the alleged receipt of money by the Congress.

Unlike the 'illegal donations' made to AAP and SAD by various shell companies, the funds provided to the Congress had nothing to do with the controversial PPAs signed by the Akalis, Chief Minister Singh said.

Political donations by certain power companies were made not to the Punjab Congress but to the All India Congress Committee, back in 2009 and 2014, with no connection whatsoever to the incumbent government in the state, he said.

Singh dared both the parties to declare all their political funding of the past 10 years so that the people of Punjab could know the truth behind their claims and counter-claims. 'Let the truth come out, and let the people decide who is or has been cheating them with false allegations and accusations,' he said in an official statement here.

He slammed the SAD and the AAP for spreading 'a carnage of lies' in a desperate attempt to 'mislead' the people ahead of the 2022 Punjab assembly elections. The PPAs in question were signed by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government, and were legally binding so that his (Amarinder Singh's) government could not rescind the same without heavy penalties on the cash-strapped state, the chief minister said.

Singh said that his government was exploring legal recourse to neutralise the 'ill-effects' of the PPAs without further burdening the state's exchequer, which the SAD, along with their BJP allies, had “milked dry” to fill their own pockets.

Citing media reports, he alleged that in fact, the SAD led by the Badals had taken more than Rs 100 crore in political funds and declared a measly Rs 13 crore, putting the rest in their personal pockets. Singh said as for the AAP, the donations taken by Arvind Kejriwal's party during the 2014 elections were already under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as, unlike the funds donated to the AICC by the private power companies.

Recent media reports had said that the ED had registered a case pertaining to four cheques amounting Rs 50 lakh, allegedly given to the AAP during the 2014 Delhi assembly elections, according to the statement.

Last year, the Delhi Police had registered a case of forgery, cheating against the four companies, it said.

Chief Minister Singh said while his government was busy working on solutions to address the problems given to the people of Punjab by the SAD, the party was busy wasting time on creating law and order problems in the state amid the Covid pandemic, thus multiplying the problems of the people.

The AAP also seems to be in “total collusion”, choosing not to question the controversial and “anti-people” decisions of the previous SAD-BJP government in Punjab, but instead contributing to the troubles of the state's people, he added. PTI CHS VSD ANB ANB

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