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Two new Punjab ministers have controversial past, Congress attacks
Monday June 9, 2014 9:56 PM, IANS

Two of the three new ministers being inducted by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Tuesday have a controversial past and were even convicted by the courts.

The opposition Congress Monday slammed Badal for inducting the controversial leaders into his cabinet.

These two ministers, Tota Singh and Sohan Singh Thandal, will be sworn in by Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil Tuesday. The third minister, Daljeet Singh Cheema, is a doctor by profession.

Punjab Congress President Partap Singh Bajwa Monday condemned Badal's decision to induct Tota singh in his cabinet.

Bajwa claimed Tota Singh was forced to resign as agriculture minister from the Badal government May 2012 just two months after being sworn-in after a court in Mohali convicted him in a case of misusing official machinery.

The court sentenced him to one year's imprisonment. It had also imposed a penalty of Rs.30,000 on him.

Bajwa claimed the court had not vacated Tota's conviction.

Thandal resigned as chief parliamentary secretary in the then Badal government (2007-2012) after a Mohali court convicted and sentenced him to three years' imprisonment and fined him Rs.25,000 for owning assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The state vigilance bureau booked Thandal in January 2003 under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The high court later acquitted him.

A three-time legislator (1997, 2002 and 2007), Thandal is considered close to the chief minister.

The Punjab vigilance department booked and arrested Tota Singh in June 2002 on charges of forgery and having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. His name figured in a scam regarding recruitment of clerks in the education department.

Three slots of ministers were lying vacant in the Badal government.

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