Chandigarh, May 9 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Wednesday accepted the resignation of state Agriculture Minister Tota Singh, who was convicted for misusing an official car and forging the log book.
Tota Singh was Saturday found guilty by a vigilance court in Mohali town, 10 km from here, in a case of misuse of official machinery. The court had sentenced him to one year’s imprisonment and imposed a penalty of Rs.30,000.
The minister was charged with misusing the official car of the Punjab School Education Board and forging the log book of the vehicle.
Badal has forwarded the resignation to Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil for immediate acceptance.
The chief minister had said Tuesday that Tota Singh had offered to resign Saturday after the court verdict but he had told him to wait.
The minister applied for bail in the vigilance court immediately after the verdict. He is likely to move the Punjab and Haryana high court against his conviction.
Tota Singh, who was education minister (1997-2002) in the Punjab government, was inducted as a cabinet minister in the Parkash Singh Badal government in March this year.
He had been booked and arrested by the Punjab vigilance department in June 2002 on charges of forgery and having disproportionate assets.
His name had figured in a scam regarding the recruitment of clerks in the education department.
He was booked and arrested in 2002 when the Congress government led by chief minister Amarinder Singh came to power in the state.
The conviction and sentencing of Tota Singh is the second embarrassment for the Badal government in the last five weeks.
Then cabinet minister Jagir Kaur was convicted by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in Patiala town March 30. Kaur was sentenced to five years’ rigorous imprisonment on counts of forcible abortion, wrongful confinement, abduction and criminal conspiracy in the mysterious death of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur, in April 2000.
However, she was absolved of the charges of murder of her daughter. Three others were also convicted by the court in the case.
She was forced to resign as Punjab’s minister for rural water supply and sanitation and defence services after her conviction and arrest.