The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday granted bail to Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Punjab Health minister Vijay Singla, weeks after he was arrested and sacked from Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s cabinet on May 24 over corruption and bribery charges. Singla had approached the High Court for bail after a Mohali court extended his judicial custody till June 24.
CM Mann had sent shockwaves across political circles in May this year when he announced his decision to remove Singla from the state cabinet in a video message. The CM, announcing his decision, said that he learnt that the minister was allegedly demanding “one percent commission” in government contracts.
“I am taking strict action against the minister. I am removing him from the cabinet,” Mann said, while stating that the minister had accepted the charges levelled against him.
Soon after Singla’s arrest, top leaders from AAP took to Twitter to hail CM Mann’s decision. AAP Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha, while pointing out that a similar decision was taken by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in 2015, tweeted, “Aam Aadmi Party is the only party that has the integrity, courage & uprightness to take action against their own on grounds of corruption. We saw it in Delhi, now we are witnessing it in Punjab. ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION. Commendable decision by CM @BhagwantMann.”
Kejriwal, while stating that the whole incident had moved him to tears, took to Twitter and wrote, “Proud of you Bhagwant. Your action has brought tears to my eyes. Whole nation today feels proud of AAP.”
Kejriwal has lately used Singla’s arrest as a political pitch in his recent rallies while promising a corruption-free government. He invoked Mann’s decision to sack Singla in Punjab’s Sangrur ahead of the Lok Sabha byelections and in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh to brandish the party’s anti-corruption credentials. “Did you ever hear about a CM sending his minister to jail? Mann sahab found out that his Health minister is involved in unscrupulous activities. Opposition, media didn’t know. Had he wanted, he could’ve brushed it under the carpet or asked for his share from minister. But he sent him to jail,” Kejriwal said at a recent political rally in Himachal.