It was a code word, “shukrana”, that led to Punjab health minister Vijay Singla being trapped for his alleged involvement in corruption cases, prompting chief minister Bhagwant Mann to sack him from his cabinet.
Sources said that the minister had allegedly sought commission from a Bathinda-based contractor for clearing a project meant for the health and family welfare department.
An officer in the department, according to sources, had approached the chief minister and informed him about a “deal”. The CM while promising to keep his identity hidden sought incontrovertible proof against the minister,
The officer and the person from whom the commission was sought made an audio recording of the meeting with Singla, said sources.
Once this recording reached the CM and discreet inquiries were made about the minister and his dealings in the affairs of his department, Mann decided to confront him.
After the chief minister was in possession of the recording, Singla was called and it was played out before him. He was asked to verify if it was his voice.
Sources said that in the audio recording, the minister was reportedly telling the contractor to give “shukrana” (code word for commission) to his nephew.
On being confronted with the audio recording, the minister is reported to have accepted that it was his voice.
Mann ordered for an FIR (under sections 7 and 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act) to be registered at Mohali and the anti-corruption cell of the police to probe the matter. Singla has been arrested.