Amid the ongoing crisis in Punjab amid an apparent rift between Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, the appointment of an advocate related to the Deputy CM as one of the additional Advocate Generals of the state have caused a row. On Monday, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa's son in law Tarun Vir Singh Lehal was among the two advocates appointed for the post of the additional advocate general. Apart from Lehal, Mukesh Chander Berry have been appointed as additional advocate general in the office of the advocate general,
The appointment has caused a row with Opposition leaders crying foul over the move which drew sharp criticism from parties like Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadi Party.
AAP leader Raghav Chadha took a dig at the ruling Congress over Lehal's appointment, claiming that only the family members of Congress minister and MLAs were getting jobs in the state.
“Congress is fulfilling its principal poll promise of 'Har Ghar Naukri' but with minor modification. Recipients of these jobs are family members of Congress ministers & MLAs. Latest beneficiary is Dy CM Randhawa's son in law. Channi is essentially carrying forward Captian's legacy,” said Chadha in a tweet.
The appointment comes amid the ongoing row regarding the appointments to key government positions following the resignation of Punjab's Advocate General APS Deol. The latter was reportedly removed following objections from Sindhu. Deol had been appointed by CM Channi himself.
Meanwhile, Lehal, the son-in-law of Randhawa who holds the portfolio of Home Affairs, said the appointment has been made on the basis of merit and experience on the recommendation of the state's advocate general. He also dismissed reports of his familial relations with Randhawa as the reason for getting the post.
“I have been practicing for almost 13 years in the high court,” he said. “Being a son-in-law of somebody, if that is negative, then I do not know what to say,” Lehad added.
The two will be defending cases for and on behalf of the state of Punjab in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on prevailing terms and conditions, as per the order.
This engagement would be purely on a contractual basis initially up to March 31, 2022, which is extendable on year to year basis, according to the order.
(With PTI inputs)