Withdrawing support to 'corrupt Khattar govt' in Haryana: Independent MLA

Haryana's new Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Deputy Cheif Minister Dushyant Chautala after taking oath during a swearing-in ceremony, in Chandigarh, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 | Photo: PTI

Independent MLA Balraj Kundu on Thursday announced withdrawing his support to the M L Khattar government in Haryana, accusing it of having given a clean chit to some corrupt officials.

The announcement by the independent MLA, however, did not have any effect on the stability of the BJP-JJP alliance government enjoying the support of 56 MLAs -- 40 of the BJP, 10 of JJP and six independents minus Kundu's -- in the 90-member House.

Kundu's announcement prompted Chief Minister Khattar to assert that he will not order any probe due to someone's personal enmity against someone else.

Asked to comment on Kundu's announcement, Khattar told reporters outside the House, "If anyone levels allegation without any substantial proof to back it... or if anyone has personal enmity and levels allegations, what is the meaning of a probe on such allegations."

Talking to reporters earlier outside the assembly at the end of its day's proceedings, the independent MLA from Meham said he was deeply hurt at the chief minister's clean chit in the case of corruption he had recently raised.

I had extended my support to an honest chief minister and an honest government, but today I came to know that the display of honesty is a farce. I withdraw my support to this corrupt government and on Friday I will formally hand over my letter to the governor and the speaker, Kundu said.

I said I don't doubt the chief minister's honesty and integrity. But the way he gave his reply in the House, I am deeply hurt.., he said.

Kundu said he had highlighted state's cooperative sugar mills showing a loss of Rs 3,300 crore due to corruption and malpractice by some government officers, acting on behalf of a former minister in the previous Khattar government (2014-19) in the state.

Kundu said the clean chit has been given even without holding an inquiry on issues pertaining to the sugar mills he had raised recently.

Winding up his nearly two-hour-long reply to the debate on the governor's address in the assembly, Khattar earlier on Thursday evening gave a scam-free chit to his government, maintaining that he was open to investigating any credible primary material provided to him.

Kundu frequently interrupted Khattar's speech, seeking to know if the chief minister was giving those whom he had accused of irregularities a clean chit. Khattar replied to Kundu's queries in the affirmative.

Khattar also touched upon the Opposition's allegations regarding irregularities in the setting up of two Sewage Treatment Plants and the under-pricing of molasses.

He claimed the cost of setting up of STPs in Karnal and Rohtak was because of the difference in specifications and requirements of the two plants while on molasses issue, he said he found nothing amiss.

Khattar cautioned members against blowing up non-issues in the House.

On the opposition's criticism to the excise policy, he said it is being made out as if a lot of changes were made in the excise policy which was not the case.

These policies have been in practice for several years and only some changes have been made now, he said.

Khattar said the government has been working with zero tolerance towards corruption.

He also denied any corruption in paddy procurement scheme, asserting that there were no scam in his government.

The chief minister also claimed that he stopped a corrupt practice prevalent in the chief minister's office earlier.

He said when he took over as the chief minister in 2014, he received a message "whether the material which belonged to him should be sent to him by the people involved in mining".

Hinting at the corrupt practice, he said he immediately refused to take any such material.

Taking excepting to Khattar's remarks, Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said if this was the case, an enquiry should be ordered immediately.

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