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Punjab CM sets up SIT to probe Covid testing scam

PUNJAB NEW EXPRESS | July 12, 2020 08:35 PM

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday announced a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the alleged Covid testing scam by Tulli lab in Amritsar, while warning that his government would not allow private hospitals or laboratories to profiteer from this unprecedented crisis facing humanity.

During his #AskCaptain Facebook Live session, the Chief Minister said that he had received a complaint against Tulli lab and had asked the Vigilance Bureau to look into the matter, but when initial investigation showed that there was no involvement of any government department or officer, the case was transferred to the police.

The three-member SIT tasked with the probe is headed by the Police Commissioner, Amritsar, who himself is a doctor, with a civil surgeon as a member, said the Chief Minister, adding that he has ordered the SIT to conduct a thorough investigation and submit its findings soon, so that suitable action can be taken.

A spokesperson for the Chief Minister's office later said the Chief Minister had taken strong exception to Akali Dal leader Bikram Majithia's attempts to politicise the simple jurisdictional decision of transferring the probe to the district police.

Apart from the fact that the Vigilance Bureau had, prima facie, not found any complicity of government department or official in the case, Tulli labs itself had moved the court challenging the bureau's jurisdiction, he said, adding the government deemed it fit to transfer the case to Punjab Police to ensure that no legal hurdle is posed later.

Rather than raising such a nonsensical issue and weakening the morale of the police, Majitha should invest his time and energy in pressurizing the Akalis' political masters in Delhi to put a stop on the CBI interference in Punjab Police investigation in the Bargari and other sacrilege cases, and the subsequent policing firing incidents, Amarinder Singh said.

Meanwhile, in response to a question during #AskCaptain on whether the recently established Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa was a Congress gameplan, the Chief Minister said that what happens in the Akali party "is not our job."

"They keep fighting...history shows that they keep getting divided. There is nothing new in it. At one point of time there were seven Akali Dals. The Akali party is like a rubber band -- it keeps expanding and contracting, " he quipped, adding that these kinds of things are normal in their party.

"If Dhindsa could not stay with them after being part of the SAD his entire life, what can one say, " said Amarinder Singh, adding that the beauty of democracy was that one can align with any party any time.

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