Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

Chandigarh:  Seven of the 11 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ministers in Punjab have been facing criminal cases, four of them serious charges, while two of them are doctors and two advocates, an analysis by a poll rights group has said.

The Punjab Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the affidavits of all 11 ministers, including Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

According to ADR, seven ministers (64 per cent) had declared criminal cases against them. Four of them (36 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against them.

Nine ministers are multimillionaires with each having average assets of Rs 2.87 crore and equal number of them have liabilities.

The richest among them is Class 12 passout Bram Shanker from Hoshiarpur, whose assets have worth Rs 8.56 crore, while matriculate Lal Chand Kataruchak, 51, from Bhoa (reserved constituency) has declared the lowest assets of Rs 6.19 lakh.

Kataruchak was a member of the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India before joining AAP.

Another matriculate Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, 60, who has been allotted the portfolios of Rural Development and Panchayats, Animal Husbandry and NRI Affairs, had roots in the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).

Meanwhile, Shanker, 56, a Congress rebel and four-time municipal councillor who has been given the portfolios of Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management, has the highest liabilities of Rs 1.08 crore.

The ADR said five ministers (45 per cent) have declared their educational qualification below Class 12, while the remaining are graduate or above.

Two of them are doctors by profession — Dr Baljit Kaur, who did MS (Ophthalmology) from Baba Farid University of Health Science in 2010, and Dr Vijay Singla, who did Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Punjabi University in Patiala in 1992.

While Singla has been assigned the portfolios of Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education & Research, Kaur is the minister for Women and Child Development.

Chief Minister Mann, a graduate dropout who holds the portfolios of Administrative Reforms, Civil Aviation, General Administration, Home Affairs and Justice, etc., did B.Com (I) from Shaheed Udhan Singh Government College in Sunam in 1992.

Engineer by profession, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer did B.Tech from the Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology of Punjab Technical University in 2012.

Second-time legislator Hayer, who became the youngest to win Assembly election in 2017 and enter the Vidhan Sabha at the age of 27, has been allotted the portfolios of School Education, Sports and Youth Services and Higher Education.

Both Harpal Singh Cheema, who has been assigned the portfolios of Finance, Excise and Taxation, and Harjot Singh Bains, the youngest minister at the age of 31, have legal qualification.

Cheema, 48, a two-time legislator from Dirba, did Bachelor of Laws from Punjabi University in Patiala in 1998, while Bains did B.A. LLB (Honours) from Panjab University in Chandigarh and International Human Right Law from London School of Economics.

Bains has been given the portfolios of Legal and Legislative Affairs, Mines and Geology, Tourism and Cultural Affairs and Jails.

Six ministers (55 per cent) are of the age between 31 and 50, while five (45 per cent) between 51 and 60.

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