Chandigarh, May 25
The ousted Health Minister, Dr Vijay Singla, functioned through a “group of four”, comprising his nephew, a dentist friend and two acquaintances from Mansa. A senior Health Department official said three of them held no official position, yet they were passing directions on behalf of Singla.
They were identified as Pradeep Bansal, son of Singla’s cousin sister; Vishal, alias Lavi, a pesticide dealer, and Jogesh Kumar, a brick-kiln owner, both of Mansa. The fourth, Dr Girish Garg, is a dentist presently working
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with the Health Department in Bathinda.
Soon after taking oath, the minister appointed Dr Garg as his Officer on Special Duty (OSD). As the renovation of Singla’s official accommodation was underway, he was putting up at the state guest house in Punjab Bhawan. The minister was staying in room No. 203, while his aides occupied room No. 204.
Sources revealed the minister had divided the work between the four. Pradeep, who before moving to Chandigarh in March this year, was running a plywood store in Bathinda. He was responsible for dealing with officials, suppliers and construction contractors. He was arrested along with the minister yesterday.
Jogesh Kumar and Vishal, who was acting as Singla’s personal assistant, were taking care of transfers. Singla had reportedly told officials not to clear any transfer without his approval.
Similarly, Dr Garg was involved with the financial dealings. He would often seek clarification from senior officials about grants allocated to Punjab under the 15th Finance Commission and Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package.
Apart from the four, one of the ousted minister’s cousins, who hails from Barnala, was dealing with private de-addiction centres, the official said.
When contacted, Dr Garg said he was working in official capacity and his role as Singla’s OSD was confined to dealing with paramedics and doctors. “I never crossed my line as a government official,” he claimed.
Pradeep couldn’t be contacted as he is in police custody. Vishal and Jogesh had their phones switched off.
- Vijay Singla allegedly involved four aides in official work
- The four apparently were Pradeep Bansal, Vishal, Jogesh Kumar, Dr Girish Garg
- Pradeep dealt with suppliers and construction contractors
- Jogesh and Vishal took care of transfers of health officials
- Dr Garg handled fiscal issues