Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday asked chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to order registration of a criminal case and probe into the illegal appointment of a Professional Advisor by Cooperation minister Sukhjinder Randhawa and recover the loss caused to the State exchequer from the Minister.
Former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said the Professional Advisor – Sidharth Shankar Sharma had been appointed illegally by the Cooperation minister without taking the required cabinet approval and had been given a salary of Rs 2.60 lakh per month which was unprecedented in the history of the State.
“This salary is above that of the chief minister and the chief secretary”, he said it was for the first time ever that a person with little qualification was being paid more salary than the chief secretary with more than twenty-five years of experience.
Bikram Majithia said in another glaring illegality the Cooperation minister had directed eight different Cooperative departments to pay the salary of the Advisor proportionately with moving any resolutions in this regard through their Board of Directors. “One person cannot be paid by eight departments”.
He said this was done despite the fact that the different departments did not have requisite money to pay salaries to their staff even as Sugarfed owed crores to sugarcane growers.
Majithia also asked the Congress government to probe how the Cooperation department had benefitted from this appointment which took place in March last year. He said during this period two Cooperatives – Puncofed and PICT were unable to raise any revenue. He said even the PADB had taken a loan of Rs 213 crore from Cooperative banks to repay NABARD. “This is proof that the Cooperation department did not benefit at all from Mr Siddharth Sharma’s experience”.