Pandemonium prevailed in Haryana Vidhan Sabha on Friday over the issue of liquor smuggling during lockdown, with the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar declaring that stringent action has already been taken against those involved in cases related to liquor theft. No one who is found guilty would be spared, he declared in the Assembly, as the budget session resumed after a break.
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) legislator from Ellenabad Abhay Singh Chautala lashed out at his estranged nephew and Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala seeking the State Government’s reply on the multi-crore liquor smuggling scandal that took place during the Covid-19 lockdown in the state. He also accused Dushyant of giving a “clean chit to his own excise department”.
Abhay’s Calling Attention Notice on the issue of liquor smuggling during Covid-19 lockdown was taken up for discussion post-lunch during the session. Reading out his Calling Attention Motion, Abhay said: “Special Enquiry Team (SET) was constituted in the matter of liquor smuggling that came to light in Sonipat’s Kharkhoda. The enquiry report has yet not been made public so that people could learn what action was taken against the culprits. The government should intimate what action was taken against the guilty officials.”
However, Dushyant cited several facts and figures and rebutted Abhay’s accusations and apprised the House on the elaborate action that was taken against the officers of the police and the excise department who were found guilty. Dushyant, who also holds the Excise portfolio, replied elaborating what action was taken against those involved in the alleged scandal.
Congress MLA from Faridabad NIT Neeraj Sharma had also moved a Calling Attention Motion on the same matter and he too raised questions on the action taken by the State Government against the officials who were found guilty in the scandal.
Stringent Action Taken Against Those Involved in Cases Related To Liquor Theft: CM
Speaking on the Calling Attention Motion regarding the status of the report of SET, constituted to investigate the liquor theft of Kharkhoda in Sonipat district reported during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown period, the Chief Minister said that stringent action has been taken against those involved in cases related to liquor theft.
No one who is found guilty would be spared, he declared.
Khattar said that the SET was constituted to investigate the said liquor theft. Based on the report, two more committees were formed. Apart from this, Vigilance was also ordered to investigate the matter, and the report of which is awaited, informed the Chief Minister.
At the same time, the Chief Minister assured the House that appropriate action will be taken once the report is submitted. The Chief Minister further informed the House that in its report, the SET has recommended appropriate action against the officers or employees for the lapses pointed out by them.
Besides, the report also suggested and recommended measures for systematic improvement in the working of the Excise Department, informed Khattar. He said that based on this report, a committee was constituted under the chairpersonship of ADGP Kalaramachandran to investigate the irregularities found at the level of the police department, based on the report, necessary action was taken against the guilty police personnel.
The Chief Minister further informed the House that the vigilance inquiry in this matter is still going on, the report of which is awaited.
Along with this, a Committee formed under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to suggest corrective measures is also yet to submit its report once it is received, the Department will get these measures implemented on priority basis.
Cong Stages Walkout from Assembly over Minister Sandeep Singh’s Presence in House
The principal opposition party, Congress, staged a walkout from the Assembly during the Zero Hour, over the presence of Cabinet Minister Sandeep Singh, who is facing sexual harassment allegations from a junior coach.
Singh, who could not attend first phase of the Budget session, arrived in the Vidhan Sabha to attend the session. After a heated argument over the issue in the House, Haryana Chief Minister said that such remarks should not be a part of the proceedings. Following which the Speaker expunged the entire proceedings revolving over the issue of Sandeep’s presence in the House.
Singh, who holds the charge of Printing and Stationery Department, had skipped the first phase of the budget session in wake of investigations into the matter. His sports portfolio was also taken away amid the controversy.
The junior woman coach, who has levelled sexual harassment allegations against Sandeep Singh, has been urging the SIT of Chandigarh Police to expedite the investigation in the nearly three-month-old matter.
House Pays Tributes to Actor-Filmmaker Satish Kaushik, Other Noted Personalities
Haryana Assembly paid tributes to actor-filmmaker Satish Kaushik, other noted personalities, and martyrs from the State who died recently. The budget session of the state assembly had started on February 20 and the budget was presented on February 23. After that, the assembly session went in for a break and resumed from Friday.
The House paid rich tributes to prominent personalities and martyrs who passed away during the intervening period.
Kaushik, who hailed from Mahendergarh district in Haryana, was known for his memorable comic roles in films such as “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” and “Mr India”. He passed away following a heart attack over a week ago. Kaushik was also the chairman of the Haryana Film Promotion Board.
Besides Kaushik, tributes were paid to former MLA Bhupinder Chaudhary, and seven martyrs who showed indomitable courage and made the supreme sacrifice while safeguarding the unity and integrity of the country. The MLAs also observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to the departed souls.
Four Bills Passed
The Haryana Appropriation (No. 1) Bill, 2023, was tabled in the House which was passed after consideration during the session. The Haryana Appropriation (No. 1) Bill, 2023 has been passed to authorize payment and appropriation of a total of Rs 19314,47,12,000 from and out of the Consolidated Fund of the State of Haryana for the services during the financial year ending on the thirty-first day of March, 2023.
In addition, three more bills — The Haryana Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2023; The Pandit Lakhmi Chand State University of Performing and Visual Arts, Rohtak (Amendment) Bill, 2023; and The Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas (Amendment) Bill, 2023 — were also passed after the MLAs discussed the same in detail in the House.