Chandigarh, June 5 (IANS) With a senior education department officer in Punjab allegedly committing suicide, the opposition Congress Thursday demanded that a case of abetment to suicide be registered against the state education minister.
The officer, Vinod Kumar, who was indicted in a books purchase scam, allegedly committed suicide by jumping into Chandigarh's famous Sukhna Lake Tuesday.
Seeking immediate dismissal of Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka and registration of a case against him, Congress Punjab unit chief Pratap Singh Bajwa said that the minister had "moral culpability" in the incident.
In a statement issued here, Bajwa said: "The deceased was stated to be under mental stress following his indictment along with two others by the Jindal Commission constituted to go into this scam which was exposed by the then director general of school education, K.S. Pannu, considered to be an upright and non-nonsense bureaucrat."
Bajwa alleged that Vinod Kumar was hand-picked by the minister and made member of three purchase committees for purchase of textbooks and science kits under the central government's Sarv Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme.
The Jindal Commission, set up by the state government to probe the books scam, had indicted the purchase committee members while exonerating the minister.
Bajwa said that Pannu, a senior Indian Administrative Service officer, was assaulted under a conspiracy in Uttarakhand, where he had been sent to supervise relief operations after the June 2013 natural disaster.
He said that Pannu, who had exposed the books scam, was transferred out of the education department.
Bajwa alleged that the Punjab government was not making the findings of the Jindal Commission public.