Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta
Last Updated: February 17, 2023, 01:13 IST
In what has put the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab in a spot of bother, the Vigilance Bureau (VB) on Thursday arrested a close aide of Bathinda Rural AAP MLA Amit Rattan Kotfatta while taking a bribe of Rs 4 lakh at the Bathinda Circuit House. The complainant has alleged that the bribe was taken at the behest of the legislator.
A spokesperson for the Vigilance Bureau said Resham Garg, a resident of Samana in Patiala, was arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged by Pritpal Kumar, husband of Seema Rani, sarpanch of Ghuda village in Sangat block of Bathinda district.
He said the complainant approached the bureau, alleging that the accused was demanding a bribe of Rs 5 lakh from his wife in lieu of releasing a government grant of Rs 25 lakh from the BDPO, Sangat, to the gram panchayat, Ghuda. He alleged that the accused had taken Rs 50,000 as bribe and was demanding the remaining money.
The Vigilance Bureau laid a trap and arrested the accused red-handed in the presence of two official witnesses while taking a bribe of Rs 4 lakh as the second instalment from the complainant.
A case has been registered against the accused at the Vigilance Bureau police station, Bathinda, under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
What triggered a huge row was that complainant Pritpal alleged that MLA Amit Rattan had spoken to him and asked him to give the money to Garg.
Garg was nabbed by the VB while he was going out in a car with the money. MLA Amit Rattan was present in a room at the Circuit House. Later, both Amit Rattan and his close aide were questioned at the Circuit House by the VB team for more than two hours. Garg was later taken by the police.
The issue has given the opposition a chance to fire a salvo at the Bhagwant Mann government. Bathinda MP Harsimrat Badal tweeted, “Kattar beiman sarkar gave ticket to Amit Rattan after he was expelled from the SAD for corruption. Now, AAP MLA Rattan caught red-handed while taking bribe from a sarpanch of my constituency. Bhagwant is trying to shift blame on his PA. Why aren’t they arresting the MLA and probing his deeds?”
Even BJP leaders, headed by former MLA and the party’s Bathinda president Sarup Chand Singla, reached the spot and started raising slogans against the AAP government.
The MLA has denied that he had asked for the bribe and distanced himself from Garg, claiming that he was not associated with him.
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