Two days after the Ludhiana change of land use (CLU) scam took Punjab by storm, Congress leader Kamaljit Singh Karwal, who has also been accused of helping a city-based builder in obtaining the CLU permit illegally, spoke to Mohit Behl on the controversy. Terming the case a conspiracy, he lashed out against local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and blamed Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjit Singh Bains of being the mastermind.
Q. You and cabinet minister Ashu have been accused of helping Grand Manor Homes in illegally obtaining CLU. What do you have to say about it?

A. There is no scam to begin with. It just a dirty play of politics to tarnish my image. If it is proven in any inquiry that the CLU to this company has casued a loss worth even a single rupee to the government, I will readily accept any punishment. Actually, the DSP who has conducted this inquiry is on a mission to defame me and avenge me for once I had pulled him up for interfering in political matters and acting on the behest of politicians. So, it is clear that he formulated such a report and unnecessarily dragged me into the matter to settle his personal scores. Besides him, RTI activist Kuldeep Singh Khaira too has consipired against us and helped in making the false report when instead he was the one trying to extort money from the builder.

Q. Do you believe it to be a conspiracy, if yes, who do you think is behind it?

A. It is no doubt a well-thought out conspiracy and the mastermind of this evil plan is MLA Simarjit Singh Bains. It is unfortunate that cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu thinks that in the whole of Punjab only he and Bains are the most honest persons, and rest all are thieves. Sidhu should not forget that Bains, to whom he has given the certificate of honesty, has come to collect wealth worth Rs 1,000 crore in the last 10 years. Everyone knows that the so-called scam has been cooked up by Bains. Moreover, if Sidhu claims that no one is as honest as him, I challenge him to stand against me, he will definetly lose. I urge him to stop playing politics on this issue.

Q. Do you think Bains has such influence over Sidhu that he has taken such an action?

A. Sidhu has fallen into Naqabposh (masked man) Bains’s grip. I had warned him several times to steer clear of Bains, but now the latter controls Sidhu and the organisation. So much so, that Sidhu is not even sparing his friends. Bains has mastered the art of trapping vulnerable people. For instance, Sukhpal Khaira’s political career has been destroyed by Bains. Before getting influenced by Bains, Sidhu should have thought for once that me and Ashu are his own colleagues unlike Bains, but he didn’t.

Q. Do you or Ashu personally know the builder and did you ever force the authorities to provide him CLU ?

A. The property in question belongs to Baljinder Singh Kahlon who is a close friend of mine and as he is a Congress worker, he is known to Ashu as well. I had verbally asked the concerned officials to get Kahlon’s work expedited as it was being delayed. I never forced them to do anything wrong. Moreover, there has been no wrongdoing by anyone in this case.

Q. Recently, Ashu said Sidhu should either prove his role in the scam or take action against the DSP. What is your take on this?

A. If any subordinate officer will insult Ashu, me or senior bureaucrats like zonal commissioners by conducting inquiries on us and conjuring false stories, we will obviously demand action against such people. I fully stand with Ashu and support his statement and protest that his name too was unnecessarily dragged into this case. Sidhu should explain how this happened and strict action should be taken against the officer who conducted this inquiry.

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