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Punjab CM claims Badals received Rs 108 crore tax waiver for luxury resort; SAD threatens defamation

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CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Thursday claimed that Sukhvilas, a luxury resort owned by former deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, situated in Palanpur village, caused in a loss of Rs 108.7 crore to the state exchequer owing to tax exemptions granted during the previous SAD-BJP government.

Slamming the Badal family for allegedly looting crores of Rupees from the state for personal benefits, CM Singh Mann claimed that the SAD-BJP alliance government had tweaked rules to favour the Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal for the construction of Sukhvilas resort.

The state government will take action in the matter, he said.

Mann said that the SAD-BJP government had introduced an Eco-Tourism policy in 2009 with the sole motive to benefit the construction of this resort. As construction could not take place on this land, which is a forest area, they brought the eco-tourism policy in 2009 and later brought an amendment in the law for the construction of the hotel, he alleged.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said that it is unfortunate that Poultry farm was converted into a resort and Rs 108 crore rupees was waived off thereby bringing a huge loss to the state exchequer.

Metro Ecogreen Resort is the real name of this hotel, which is located in Palanpur village in Majri block of Mohali district, he said.

Mann said a Badal-owned company, Metro Ecogreen Resort Limited, took approval for nearly 20 acres on March 2, 2009 for the project and that Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board gave the approval in December 2010 for setting up an ecotourism resort in village Palanpur.

Another Badal family-owned company Taj Travels Private Ltd took approval for ecotourism on a piece of land in Palanpur, he claimed Metro Ecogreen Resort purchased over 23 kanal (about 2. 50 acres) land from the Taj Travels. Thus total land accumulated was 20.8 acres, he said.

Mann claimed that majority of the shares in Metro Ecoreen resort Ltd were held by the Badal family.

"Sukhbir Badal holds 1.83 lakh shares of this private limited company, his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal 81,500 shares, while Dabwali Transport Company holds 5,350 shares," the AAP leader said.

Mann bemoaned that the then Punjab Government headed by Parkash Singh Badal incentivized this resort by waiving off state GST and VAT for ten years.

The AAP leader said that in total Rs 85 crore was waived off in the shape of SGST and VAT adding that electricity Duty worth Rs 11.44 crore has also been waived off 100 percent for 10 years. He said that not only this but luxury tax and Annual License Fees worth Rs 11 crore has also been exempted thereby incurring huge loss to the state exchequer.

Mann said that a sum of Rs 108.73 crore have been waived off in form of taxes adding that this money has been used for personal interest of Badals and that this amount could have been duly utilized by the state government for the welfare of people.

He said that ironically none of the other companies had got the benefit of this policy introduced in 2009 but Badals used it for their personal gains.

Further, Mann alleged that the road leading to the resort was specially constructed by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) using taxpayers money.

He said that the tax of resort has been waived for the period from May 11, 2015 to May 10, 2025. He said that 81,500 shares are in the name of Harsimrat Kaur Badal and 5350 shares are in the name of Dabwali Transport Company, owned by the Badals.

Mann announced that every single penny of the state exchequer will be recovered and suitable action will be taken. He said that a detailed enquiry is going on to check which laws were misused or twisted for construction of this resort.

Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal dared Mann to register a case to substantiate his allegations against SAD chief Sukhbir Badal or apologise for uttering "malicious lies", failing which he should be ready to face another defamation suit.

SAD's chief spokesman Arshdeep Singh Kler termed the allegations "false" and said they were made by Mann solely to divert attention from the zero FIR registered in the death of farmer Shubhkaran Singh. He said this was not the first time the chief minister had indulged in such diversionary tactics when cornered.

"Earlier, Bhagwant Mann had held a similar press conference to accuse former chief minister Charanjit Channi of taking a bribe of Rs 2 crore from a sportsman but failed to register a case in the matter," Kler claimed.

"The Vigilance department is with the chief minister. Why has he not proceeded in this matter since the last two years?" he asked Challenging Mann to either register a case or be ready to prove his allegations in the court of law, Kler said "a detailed rejoinder based on the true facts in the case will be given tomorrow."

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

53 Days ago