Punjab agriculture minister jailed

Mohali: A local court today convicted and sentenced a Punjab minister to one year in jail for misusing his official position. Punjab agriculture minister Tota Singh was held guilty of misusing his official position and vehicle by the court of Additional District and Sessions here. Judge Rajinder Aggarwal also slapped a fine of Rs 30,000 on the minister.

However, he was acquitted in another case of owning assets disproportionate to his known sources of income registered against him in 2002. The minister was present in the court at the time of pronouncement of the verdict. The court said that in case the minster defaults in paying the fine he would have to further undergo six months in prison. However, the minister immediately paid the fine.

Singh`s plea for bail was allowed by the court to enable him to approach a higher court. Punjab Vigilance Bureau had in 2002 booked Singh for possessing property worth Rs ten crore, which was stated to be disproportionate to his known sources of income during the SAD-BJP regime from 1997-2002.

Singh is the second minister in SAD-BJP coalition government in the state to be jailed after senior minister Bibi Jagir Kaur, who was sentenced recently in connection with a case related to the mysterious death of her daughter.